New lawsuit strikes Powder Mountain

Eden residents ask judge to allow election for town's council
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OGDEN - Residents of Eden who feel they're being roped into the new Powder Mountain town have filed a lawsuit in 2nd District Court, asking a judge to allow an election for the town's council.

Otherwise, says the lawsuit, town residents will be denied their statutory right to have a council elected by the people and their constitutional right to political power. If the County Commission appointed the town council, as outlined in a now-defunct 2007 law, it also would give nonresidents - the developers - special privileges to perform town functions in violation of the Constitution, the lawsuit says.

The plaintiffs - Dan VanZeben, Darla Longhurst-VanZeben, Taylor Satterthwaite, James P. Halay, Deja N. Mitchell, Kathleen O. Dowell and Suzanne Amann - filed the suit against the Weber County Commission, but it is somewhat of a “friendly” suit, said Longhurst-VanZeben.

The plaintiffs want the judge to order commissioners not to appoint a six-member town council and instead to schedule an election for a five-member council.

This isn't the only lawsuit facing the beleaguered community.

Powder Mountain owners are suing commissioners. The developers want to build hundreds of homes and hotel rooms, and put in retail shops, golf courses and new ski lifts.

The commission in August reluctantly approved the developers' incorporation petition, which was filed in January, just days before the Legislature convened and reversed the 2007 law that allowed large landowners to force neighbors to be part of new cities and towns.

Later in August, the commission refused to appoint the town council from a list of candidates proposed by the developers. The commission wanted a more-diverse list to chose from, including names of incorporation opponents. The developers insist the superceded law gives them the sole authority to put names on the list.

Longhurst-VanZeben said Friday that the residents hope the two lawsuits can be merged so a judge can hear all the arguments at once.

The plaintiffs want Powder Mountain to succeed - just not as a company town, she said. “The best solution obviously is a free and fair election.”

The owners of Powder Mountain are Mark E. Arnold, of Layton; Edward F. Bates, of Salt Lake City; and Lee A. Daniels, of Park City.