|Aggie Peirce and Tonda Hansen talk about the rezoning issue that brought them back to planning and zoning.|
A rezoning for South Price property request jumped through some extra hoops as it was reviewed and moved by Carbon County Planning commissioners for the second time at a special meeting Tuesday.
Aggie Peirce and Pace and Tonda Hansen applied to have 64 acres rezoned from five acre lots to two-and-half acres in April and went through the mandated process. On May 6, Commissioners recommended the request be granted and the issue was moved to the Carbon County commissioners for final approval at their June 4 meeting but hit a wall instead.
"I can't understand how you (planning and zoning) made a positive recommendation on this without hearing from the neighbors," Commissioner Bill Krompel said.
Those neighbors were present at the June 4 public hearing and decried the proposed change.
"We moved there 34 years ago because of solitude and the privacy," Brett Griggs said at the June 4 meeting. "This rezoning will be a foot in the door for development."
The area around 3250 South, 500 East, has a multitude of zoning requirements. Some property is five acres, some two-and-a-half and another has one acre parcels. Even one of the neighbors who came to protest the change admitted to having two-and -three-acre lots on her property.
However, despite the variety of zonings, Griggs argued that smaller lots bordering his 10 acres would comprise his family's lifestyle.
"We own livestock and even hunt when it's in season on my property," Griggs said. "We moved there with the expectation that we would continue this lifestyle."
After hearing the protest Commissioners Steve Burge and Krompel moved to send the request back to planning and zoning for a second review and for the neighbors to speak their piece into the record.
A meeting was called by planning and zoning for June 10 with the Peirce/Hansen request as the only item on the agenda.
County Planning Director Dave Levanger expressed that he wasn't quite clear on why the meeting had to be called in the first place.
"I guess the commission felt this was necessary for finding of facts but I don't understand why we are reviewing this again," he said.
Commissioner Mike Milovich explained that at the June 4 county commission meeting it was decided that residents needed a chance to give input to the planning commission.
Also present at Tuesday's meeting was Krompel who explained his concerns about the rezoning. He specifically pointed out potential problems of increasing traffic on O'Brien Lane.
"The road is only 18 feet wide in some places, there are no acceleration or deceleration lanes where it meets Highway 10," he said.
Krompel told the planning commissioners he thought it was essential that when the body made decisions that they consider off-site improvements as part of their consideration. He cited the Circle K development as an example of the issues that can develop.
"Back in the late 80s after Circle K was developed we got several calls about public safety," he said. "They only had one way out of the subdivision."
Acknowledging the concerns, the planning commissioners assured the audience that they had followed the process in making their first decision.
"We follow the county general plan as much as we can," Commissioner Richard Tatton said.
The bottom line however, was that many of the concerns brought up were related to development and not just a zoning change.
"From what I have observed in the past the planning commission treats a zone change differently than development," Levanger said. "Zoning considerations are whether the change will fit with the region."
Looking at the definition of RR-5 and RR-2.5 contained in Utah Code 17-27-101 the requirements are very closely matched. One of the major differences in addition to language in 2.5 which reads "To promote the orderly conversion of open land into wholesome residential areas as the need arises and as water, sewer and other municipal-type services can be provided."
In addition, area and width requirements for two-and-a-half acres runs from 60 to 100 feet less than for the five acre lots.
In the end, County Attorney Christian Bryner solved the dispute by turning to the Utah Code book. He said that only under certain circumstances could the planning commission deny a rezoning request.
"They can only deny it if the legislative body makes a finding of compelling, countervailing public interest," he said reading from Utah Code 17-27a 504.
With that the planning commission unanimously approved moving the item back to the Carbon County Board of Commission. The next county commission meeting is June 18 at 4:30 p.m.