If enough signatures are gathered on petitions for the referendum to repeal the rezone for the Tooele Valley Temple subdivision planned community, the earliest voters may see the referendum on a ballot may be June 2021.
Previously, Tooele County Clerk Marilyn Gillette said that the referendum sponsors would have enough time to gather signatures for the referendum to be placed on the Nov. 3, 2020 general election ballot.
However, Gillette has since found out that a provision of the state election code provides that if a referendum relates to a legislative action taken after April 15, the referendum can not be placed on an election ballot until a primary election, a general election, or a special election the following year.
The rezone for the Temple Subdivision was approved by the County Commission in June 2020.
State code limits special elections to the fourth Tuesday in June or the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
The year 2021 is a municipal election year with primary elections to be held on the second Tuesday following the first Monday in August. Municipal general elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each odd-numbered year.
Allison Kipp, one of the petition sponsors, said she had not heard about the change in the election date.
“We had been told the election would be in November,” she said. “This gives people six more months for people to harass and threaten us.”
Kipp said petition sponsors have been harassed and threatened on Facebook messenger, other places on social media, and by text messages.
“People are angry,” she said. “They think we are against the temple and that’s not true. Stopping the temple is not what we want. We just want to stick with 1-acre zoning.”
According to Richard Droubay, Tooele Valley Temple groundbreaking ceremony committee chairman and spokesperson, a delay may hold everything up for at least a year.
“The referendum may ultimately alter the construction of the temple,” Droubay said.
As of Monday at noon, referendum sponsors had submitted 1,634 verified signatures to the County Clerk’s office, according to Gillette. A total of 2,445 signatures are needed and state law requires that a specific number of those signatures must come from specific County Council districts.