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Highland • Mayor Lynn Ritchie believes a city councilman did indeed help notify residents about plans to allow businesses to open on Sunday. But he is not applauding the way it happened.

Before the council's April 17 decision to put the issue to a public vote, Councilman Scott Smith sent residents a letter explaining the need for changing the ordinance to make the city attractive to businesses.

But it was the way Smith did it that bothered Ritchie: Smith sent the letter anonymously.

"We hope to get a lot of information out," Ritchie said. "By not signing the letter, he was not being transparent, and it angered a lot of people."

Smith refused to discuss the letter. "I am no longer commenting on the issue," he said in response to queries from The Salt Lake Tribune.

Smith was one of three council members who voted to amend the operating hours ordinance to allow Sunday business. Council members Brian Braithwaite and Jessie Schoenfeld voted against the measure.

The city's Economic Development Committee first discussed the idea in 2011 as a way to expand the tax base and provide more money for road repairs and other city functions.

Ritchie said allowing Sunday shopping and dining would make the city more attractive to businesses, specifically chain stores and restaurants that typically are open seven days a week.

Neighboring Cedar Hills lifted its blue law — a type of law meant to enforce religious standards, such as regulating the sale of alcohol — in 2005, when it was trying to woo Walmart.

Supporters of lifting the ban note that Smith's Food and Drug and Walmart do business near the city's borders, attracting Highlanders on Sundays but not putting money in Highland's coffers.

Ritchie said the city could have made the change with just a council vote, but he and others support putting the question to voters in November because it represents a major change in the way the city does business.

"[Sunday closing] has certainly been a value and characteristic of Highland," Ritchie said. "This could change it somewhat."

Residents have mixed feelings.

"I think the city is giving in to outside pressure," said Daryl Chadwick, who runs Painted Daisy Floral with his wife, Tina.

Brittany Ray said not being able to shop on Sunday doesn't bother her. But, she said, her husband believes the question should be left to individual businesses.

Dorothy Bryson, who lives in Cedar Hills, thinks it's a great idea. "I'm surprised Highland has been able to get away with it as long as they have," she said.