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'Business friendly'

Sun Advocate associate editor,

County planners consider new concept for zoning in rural residential areas

Somewhere between a garage or basement business and a factory or office building, there's a time when a small, growing company may need space to put two employees to work. The Carbon County Planning and Zoning Commission and staff are working on a new zone designation to accommodate that need.

The idea, still in draft form, is to allow a small company to have facilities and employees in rural residential or rural agricultural zones. It would have to be done in such a way that the character of these rural neighborhoods won't be changed and the value of nearby properties won't be affected.

This concept is known as a small business overlay zone. The minimum lot size for this new zone is two acres. It would permit small business development in the Rural Residential 1 acre, 2.5 acre and 5 acre zones, and in the Residential Agricultural 20 acre zone. Property in the RR1 zone would have to meet the two-acre minimum.

While one of the stated objectives of the overlay zone is "to establish a zoning district where small family-oriented business operations can thrive," at the last meeting of the P&Z commission, members had some questions about just what kind of small businesses might qualify. An auto wrecking yard, even with only two commuting employees, would not be a good idea. Also, businesses that use chemicals that produce odors would not be welcome, either.

However, small shop for a photography studio or small appliance repair might not be upsetting to neighbors.

Building official Dave Levanger told board members that a conditional use permit would have to be issued and that the commission would be able to screen the businesses and assess potential impacts.

These small business developments would have to be detached from the residence and housed in buildings no larger than 3,000 square feet unless approved by county planners. These structures and operations would also have to be set back at least 75 feet from any lot line. Signage is permitted, but signs could be no bigger than 12 square feet.

The overlay zone also has access requirements. The place of business must be accessible by state highway, county road, or a private roadway that has been checked and approved by the county road department as adequate for emergency service vehicles to enter.

All small business developments in the zone would also have to have sanitary facilities for employees approved by the Price River Water Improvement District or health department.

The overlay zone is already in the fourth draft. The planning commission wants a fifth draft to review next month.

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