Holladay residents turn in petition in hopes of blocking old Cottonwood Mall development

HOLLADAY — Holladay residents concerned about a new development planned for their city turned in their petition Thursday seeking a referendum that would put the project up for a vote, the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office confirmed.

For Brett Stohlton, one of the organizers of the group Unite For Holladay, which collected signatures, the petition proved many Holladay residents’ willingness to “contribute to the community.”

In May, the Holladay City Council approved a proposal by Ivory Homes and Woodbury Corp. to build a mixed-use city center on the site of the old Cottonwood Mall, prompting Stohlton and others to start the petition.

The development plans include 775 apartments, with a maximum height of 90 feet, or seven stories. The plan also includes up to 210 total residential units, including 79 single-family homes, 22 units of brownstone-style homes, 39 units described as “Creekside Manor” homes, and up to 40 retail shops and restaurants.

Stohlton in June said the development would drop an uncharacteristically dense community in the heart of a “bedroom community that has more of a rural feel.”

“It’s been a lot of hard work over the last 45 days. Fortunately, we’ve had over 100 volunteers making great personal sacrifice to contribute to the community, to engage their neighbors and other residents of Holladay,” Stohlton said Thursday.

“And it’s fun at the end of that pathway to see an end result where we gathered close to 8,000 signatures from voters in Holladay, and that represents close to 50 percent of the voters in Holladay that participated in the last presidential election,” he said.

The signature requirement is at least 35 percent of the people who voted in the last presidential election.

Stohlton said the group would continue to collect and turn in signatures until Friday, which is their deadline. They need 5,874 valid signatures. However, even if the …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

Lawmaker looks to keep Utah net neutral

SALT LAKE CITY — On the heels of a Federal Communications Commission action last December that walked back Obama-era rules to maintain net neutrality, states across the country are working on legislation to backfill the void and reinstate some rules for internet service providers.

Utah is the latest to join that effort, with an announcement Thursday by Utah House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, that he’s opened a bill file that will aim to create some new, state-level guidelines.

And, there appears to be a bi-partisan energy afoot, with Rep. Bruce Cutler, R-Murray, noting he is also exploring potential legislation aimed at net neutrality.

King told the Deseret News his proposal will be limited to requiring that any internet service provider that is contracting with the state, or one of its subdivisions, adhere to the basic tenets of net neutrality, including prohibiting ISPs from “blocking, disparately pricing, or otherwise interfering with internet traffic and content.”

“We’re not looking to dictate what ISPs do, but when it comes to state contracts, we don’t want a thumb on the scale,” King said. “We want (state web content) to be accessible to everyone who needs it, in a way that does not put us at a disadvantage with other websites.”

According to data assembled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 other states have already introduced some 65 pieces of legislation, following the implementation of the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedomorder which took effect on June 11.

The efforts vary widely and include a California proposal that would, according to some analysts, be more expansive than the guidelines the FCC abolished, to legislation that simply requires ISPs to explicitly outline exactly how they’re managing bandwidth. New York and New Jersey are exploring how to leverage, via legislative proposals, local jurisdiction over power poles and underground …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

Mayor Jackie Biskupski refuses to ‘endorse’ City Council port negotiations

SALT LAKE CITY — Amid rumblings of a possible special session next week to make changes to the controversial law creating the Utah Inland Port Authority, Salt Lake City’s mayor is pushing back against her own City Council.

Mayor Jackie Biskupski says she’s “deeply concerned” by the council’s negotiations with state leaders.

“While my staff and I will continue to provide insight and participate in informal dialogue with you and your staff, this administration will not endorse the behind-the-scenes negotiations you are currently involved in, which is absent of a public process,” Biskupski wrote in a letter to Council Chairwoman Erin Mendenhall.

The letter was sent Wednesday and obtained by the Deseret News Thursday.

The mayor also cited concerns with transparency and pushback from community members frustrated over how elected officials have been handling the creation of the inland port as reasons not to call a special session.

“Given the current acrimony, now is not the time for us as city leaders to participate in a rushed special session, rather it is time for us to choose to support the requests of our community partners,” Biskupski says in the letter.

Biskupski’s letter came in response to a letter from Mendenhall on Tuesday, inviting the mayor to participate in negotiations after several invitations to the mayor in June and July were declined.

“Although our invitations to you and your staff to get engaged in the discussion and participate in the meetings (extended on June 16, June 27 and July 7) were declined, it is not too late for your] to be a part of the promising progress,” Mendenhall wrote. “We ask you to allow your staff to participate in the working group and re-establish communication between our office and administration staff on this topic.”

The tension between the council and the mayor come after negotiations broke down between …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

Lawmakers looking at Jan. 1 to start online sales tax collections

SALT LAKE CITY — Starting Jan. 1, out-of-state online retailers affected by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling will have to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Utahns under a bill that could be considered in a special legislative session.

Members of of the Legislature’s Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee did not take action Thursday on the bill setting the date for collecting an estimated $80 million in state and local sales taxes from companies selling products online in Utah.

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, the committee’s co-chairman, said he wants changes made to the bill to ensure the revenues will be put aside to pay for a tax break for manufacturers passed last session as well as a possible tax cut.

So the bill will likely come before the committee at its next meeting on Wednesday, the Legislature’s regular monthly interim meeting day. A special session may also be called on Wednesday by Gov. Gary Herbert to deal with several issues.

Gov. Gary Herbert may also call lawmakers into special session on Wednesday. He has until Monday to issue an agenda, known as the call, for a Wednesday session, but it is not clear the online sales tax issue would be included.

The committee discussed the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling in June that overturned decades-old decisions that said companies that didn’t have a physical presence in a state didn’t have to collect sales taxes from customers there.

Utah is already collecting more than half of the estimated $200 million in online sales taxes from out-of-state companies thanks to voluntary compliance, state Tax Commission Chairman John Valentine told the committee.

Valentine said the commission has been “aggressively pursuing” voluntary agreements. Companies that have deals with the state include Amazon, which announced last year a distribution center is being built in Utah.

Now that the high court …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News