Planning commission looks at industrial zone conditional use permits
A policy which requires that the Carbon County Planning and Zoning commission review all businesses that move into industrial zones will be reexamined in the next couple of weeks.
Because of some previous problems with tenants of rented spaces in industrial zones changing the nature of their businesses in mid-stream and creating nuisances for the county and nearby residents, the commission itself had been reviewing and approving all conditional use permits for any business that moves into such a zone. But the planning and zoning staff suggested that the policy should be changed.
"The problem arises when a low impact type business moves into an industrial facility," said planning and zoning director Dave Levanger. "It's something that I think we need to look at. Some people that have contacted me feel that the way we are doing it now slows everything down too much."
The latest problem concerning the permits had to do with a company called Western Research, an outbound call center that does telemarketing surveys. When another building in the area couldn't be found that could accommodate the business, the company decided to move into a facility that was previously set up to be an industrial complex and had to be remodeled into an office setting. Despite the fact that the business uses no hazardous materials and causes no other problems, the county still required a standard conditional use permit for the business to get going because it was located in an industrial zone. That approval took some time and did slow down the opening a little.
"I believe in these low impact situations the staff could issue a temporary permit until the board approves it," said Levanger. "I suggest we look around at ordinances in other parts of the state to see if anyone else allows this kind of leeway."
Commission members were sympathetic to Levanger and his request, but they also were concerned about what has happened in the past.
"I just don't want another situation like we had with Pacific Steel where the business started out as a welding shop and grew into something else that created a problem," said County Commissioner Mike Milovich who sits on the planning board. "We just need to be careful of that kind of thing."
Planning board chair Richard Tatton was also concerned asking Levanger how exceptions could be built into such a policy without taking the chance of a business stepping beyond what was expected.
Board member Lynna Topolovec said she was also concerned about such a change and said that if the policy does change the county "needs to get it right" so no problems are caused.
Levanger also presented the commission with a list of hazardous materials he and the staff would like to see added to the conditions on a conditional use permit for industrial areas. The materials noted on the document include combustible liquids, combustible fiber, consumer fireworks, flammable cryogenics, oxidizing cryogenics, explosives, flammable gas, flammable liquid, combinations of flammable liquids, flammable solids, organic peroxide, oxidizers, oxidizing gases, pyrophoric materials and unstable reactives.
According to the document the international building codes regulate construction requirements depending up on the type of hazardous materials, the amount, the location of them and the particulars on how they are used.
The commission then told Levanger to go ahead and do some research on the matter and to get back to them.
In a related issue on the agenda the a request for a conditional use permit by Angelo Kiahtipes to add some more storage units to his facility at 2700 South Highway 10 was approved by the commission. Kiahtipes said that he was planning to put on another 80 to 100 units.
The planning board also instructed Levanger to reword part of the development code that pertains to "set backs" as it applies to building a structure next to another persons property, after he informed them of problems with the interpretation of the rules.
"We realized that when we revamped the code recently we didn't put in provisions for car port supports," Levanger told the board. "The code reads that a wall can't be less than three feet from the property line, but we have had some situations where car ports are being installed with just poles. We would like to change that to read "support structures" rather than wall."
He also noted that an overhang on a structure can extend out into the set back up to one third of the distance of that set back.