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Front Page » July 3, 2003 » Local News » County planning board recommends approval of subdivision ...
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County planning board recommends approval of subdivision development

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Staff reporter

Private property located near Westwood Boulevard will likely become the site of a new residential subdivision in Carbon County. The county planning board members decided during a public meeting on Tuesday to recommend that Carbon commissioners approve the proposed Gardner Gate Estates subdivision. The development project, proposed by Leo and Kara Heugly, has been in the planning stages for quite some time.

The county planning board met Tuesday and members recommended that Carbon commissioners approve the Gardner Gate Estates subdivision.

The development, owned by Leo and Kara Heugly, has been in the planning stages for quite some time. At the meeting, neighboring residents raised an ongoing concern about drainage for the project.

"I just want to be sure there is a drainage plan for this development," said Commissioner Mike Milovich, Carbon County government's representative on the planning board. "It needs sidewalks, gutters and curbs according to the zoning."

Dustin Heugly represented the developers at the planning board meeting. He pointed out that a previous developer in the immediate area did not provide the same improvements.

"The county didn't have a deed to the roads involved in that development at the time," replied county planning director Dave Levanger. "We do have a deed to this road."

County engineer Evan Hansen pointed out that part of the drainage problem in the area could be alleviated by installing improvements along a nearby county road.

Hansen said Price city and the county are working on applying for grant money to finish improvements on the street because the two entities share responsibility for the entire length of the unimproved area.

But Milovich insisted that a drainage plan be put in place as part of the approval process.

Another issue that came up was the agricultural nature of nearby neighbor's properties.

"With no real agricultural ordinance, we need to let people know that there are farms and agriculture in the area before they buy," said board member Lynna Topolovec.

Following the discussion, the planning board members recommended that the subdivision development be approved by the county commission, with drainage plans to be put in place.

Addressing an unrelated agenda item, the planning board discussed a request for changing the zoning in several Spring Glen areas from RR-1 to R-1-20,000.

"Originally, these residential lots were zoned at one acre because there was no sewer in the area and to have septic systems lots had to be that size," pointed out Levanger. "But in the past years, sewer has been put in the area, so 20,000 square foot lots could be acceptable. The request for this is because the land owner has been given seven tenths of an acre to build on, but we can't give him a permit to build because the zoning is for one acre. He has checked and could buy some property behind that which would give him an acre, but was wondering if we could give him a variance on this."

The commission discussed the idea of a variance and decided against supporting the zoing change request.

Acting on other business matters at the meeting, the county planning board:

•Granted a rezoning request and a conditional use permit to JW Operating Company for drilling two additional gas wells in the Soldier Creek area.

"Where are these?" asked Topolovec. "How close are they to the creek? And I am also concerned to be sure we are meeting our usual requirements concerning erosion and cattle-guards on the roads, as well as that the color of the well pump and equipment blend in with the area."

Don Hamilton of Talon Resources represented JW Operating Company at the planning board meeting. He said the proposed well is farther away from the creek than previous wells the company has drilled and JW Operating would 'comply with all the previous conditions' that had been set down for their other wells.

The comments brought the question of color of facilities to the fore front.

Some Carbon County residents in attendance at the meeting wondered if color was as important in uninhabited areas as the matter is where people live.

The reason for the condition requiring colors to blend in stems from the fact that, for years, many developments involving mining and drilling used bright shades that made equipment stand out, hanging the aesthetics of the area.

"I also wonder if the facilities are brightly colored if it would draw more vandalism on the sites?" questioned planning commission chairman Richard Tatton.

Most of the commission agreed that color was important even in areas where few people travel and that all well heads and equipment should blend in as much as possible with the areas geography and flora.

During the discussion, Bob Welch, the planning commissions member from Helper, pointed out that he is concerned about some of the areas where wells have been located and then removed.

"I know the drought is affecting the growth of plants, but some of the areas don't look like they have been reclaimed very well," he told the other members.

Hamilton explained that the best time to start the reclamation is in the fall. In the summer, seeds lack adequate water and die before plants can begin to grow.

Hamilton agreed that the drought has had a profound affect on the use of plants in completing the reclamation projects.

Levanger pointed out that he went out with personnel from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to an area the DWR had been trying to revegetate. The state agency's effort had failed due to the drought.

"Well I am concerned about some of the dirt work as well," stated Welch. "It just looks like it isn't being done. I just see that this reclamation isn't seeming to be enforced, yet if a private individual drives off an approved road with an ATV they get in big trouble in this state."

Milovich pointed out that the planning commission, not the county commission has no power over reclamation, other than to set some conditions on time frame.

"This is a department of oil, gas and minerals problem," stated Milovich. "Any complaints should go to them."

The question of reclamation bonds then was brought up by planning members.

"As of today the bond amount has gone up from $80,000 to $120,000," Hamilton pointed out.

The new state bond regulation went into affect July 1.

•Granted conditional use permits to ConocoPhillips for two additional wells on property near Ridge Road which is owned by Violet Feichko.

Conoco Phillips representative Jean Semborski indicated that both wells will be covered by buildings and access to the drilling sites will come from an existing farm that connects to 1000 East.

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