City Councilor Turner sworn in for a third termFeb 07, 2022 01:59PM ● By Shaun Delliskave
City Councilor Diane Turner sworn in for a third term. (Photo courtesy Diane Turner)
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
Over the years, Diane Turner has seen many things change in her corner of Murray. The now-three-term city councilor (and twice a candidate for Salt Lake County Council) has had time to look back and reflect on those changes, and certain things stand out most notably to her: “The pressure from developers for density in the form of market-cost rental units,” Turner said. “We are finally building a new city hall and police headquarters. Hooray!”
Turner was first elected to the city council in 2013. Before that, she made two attempts to unseat then-county councilmember David Wilde in 2006, coming within 4%, and in 2010. Prior to that, she spent 27 years working in the State of Utah’s criminal and juvenile justice systems.
A University of Utah graduate with a bachelor’s in sociology, a certificate in criminology, and a master’s in public administration, Turner has stayed close to her roots. Four generations of her family have lived in Murray.
Her tenure on the city council has been eventful. While claiming to have only missed one council meeting, she was tapped to serve as Murray’s first female mayor. In 2017, Mayor Ted Eyre died in office; under Utah law, when a vacancy occurs in the mayor’s office, the city council chair serves as acting mayor.
Turner retained her city council seat because the acting mayor position was temporary. The city council then appointed fellow city councilor and mayoral candidate Blair Camp to fill out the remainder of Eyre’s term as interim mayor. Turner, who did not apply to become interim mayor, returned to the council, and Camp went on to win the election.
Turner told the Murray Journal, “I originally made an application because I wanted to ensure that we had a smooth transition from the acting mayor to the interim mayor and finally to mayor-elect, and that we had at least one applicant who would meet that standard. When we had three qualified applicants, I was able to pull out. I have no interest in having a full-time job at this time in my life, and the mayor’s job is a full-time plus.”
Along with being the first female mayor, Turner has seen Murray City change from male-dominated leadership to nearly all female. Currently, Mayor Brett Hales is the only male elected leader.
In her eight years on the council, she touts among her accomplishments the development of the Canal Trail. She also introduced and passed an idling ordinance and introduced an ordinance banning single-use plastic bags in Murray City. In order to work with retailers in crafting the code for this law, Turner has not yet forwarded this for a vote.
“There are many challenges Murray is currently facing,” Turner said. “Developing the downtown in a thoughtful, sustainable way, working with the developer and citizen input. We need to be proactive regarding homeless issues and affordable housing. Better community involvement and communication.”
Downtown Murray has seen progress with the new city hall, fire station and roads. However, the “48th & State project,” which entails an extensive mixed-use development that would transform State Street, has stalled. Turner is not a fan of the current project.
“I did not support the development last proposed. I believe we can find a developer who cares about the aesthetic, considering Murray’s unique history and independence, which involves input from Murray citizens,” Turner said.
In addition to the downtown multi-use development, Turner will have to consider a whole slew of other mixed-use projects. With developers and property owners proposing to transform the former RC Willey, 49th Street Galleria, Pointe@53rd, and Sports Mall properties, the council had to place a moratorium on the projects last year to request changes to Murray’s zoning laws.
While the council approved new zoning designations, Turner is still not satisfied with the planning types.
“I think we need to be careful when considering mixed-use developments while considering infrastructure needs, environmental sustainability, traffic patterns, parking, green space, and citizen involvement. I believe we need to go back to the drawing board or perhaps eliminate the development all together,” Turner said.
Turner does not plan to change her stance on promoting environmental responsibility, and she hopes some things improve in her next term.
“I plan to work to promote a better working relationship with the mayor’s office and administrative branch of the city. I am very excited for the new administration,” Turner said.