The Kanab City Council met on January 10 with new members Kirt Carpenter and Joe B. Wright substantially contributing to some lengthy discussions on pending resolutions and ordinance changes.

Mike Schollian, owner of the Treasure Trail Motel, began inquiries with Kanab’s Planning Commission in March of last year about putting an RV park behind his motel. This area is zoned C1 and C2, which does not support this use and therefore necessitated the council’s consideration to change it. A conditional use designation was not thought to be the best option, and a proposal was made to make it a permitted use, which has an extensive site plan review process in the C1-2 area.

Joan Thatcher objected to the proposal, asking how the application processes transpire and felt the plan was rushed through without much public awareness. She questioned whether the neighboring houses, one of which is known as “The Mayor’s House,” were aware of the project.

Councilman Jim Sorenson countered saying this request has been discussed by the planning commission (PC) on numerous occasions, with the big question being whether or not the project would be detrimental to the community. “The PC did not feel it would negatively impact the downtown area and would in fact increase foot traffic to businesses along the Hwy 89 corridor,” said Sorenson.

The council voted unanimously to amend the Land Use Ordinance for C1-C2 to permit an RV park.  This would not be allowed on Hwy 89 frontage, and a 30-day stay limit would be imposed, with a 14-day separation period to preclude long term stays.

Generating even more discussion was the issue of reimbursement of expired building permit fees. The request was brought before the council a month ago by Ben Clarkson, representing Bemadi, Inc., and was there to reitterate his stance on receiving some credit towards the $13,000 paid. “It’s a matter of fairness. The city had use of that money and we don’t want to be penalized having to pay it twice,” Clarkson pleaded.

The council found outdates were stated on the building permits issued to Bemadi, which specify the permit will expire if construction is not initiated within 180 days of its issuance or there is a break in construction for more than 180 days. “The developer obtained the building permits just prior to the initiation of impact fees in 2006, thereby saving tens of thousands of dollars,” said Councilman Kirt Carpenter.

Councilman Ed Meyer said, “It’s the developer’s responsibility. They could have requested an extension.  Are we trying to fix something that’s not broken? Also, are we favoring a couple of developers or do we need to open this up to all permit holders since and previous to these 2006 permits that had expired? These costs are going to be passed on to the buyer anyway.”

Councilman Wright asked, “Why do we charge these fees if the service they pay for is not rendered?”

Sorensen added, “Why do we specify 180 days and what is the basis for this?”

City Manager Duane Huffman stated that this is a universal standard in building codes.

After 35 minutes, a proposal was finally presented by Meyer which left the building permit itself as is, but offered expired permit holders a 25% discount on new permits issued between January 1 and July 1, 2012. However, before a vote could be concluded, Meyer withdrew the resolution stating there were far too many differing opinions on the subject and requested it be tabled pending further discussion.

The council approved a franchise agreement with Xpressweb Internet Services for the construction and operation of a fiber-optic transmission system in Kanab. As part of the agreement, Kanab will receive a 1% franchise fee based off of Xpressweb’s revenues from the service. Mayor Laycook’s understanding was that this fee would not be passed on to the consumer. South Central Communications also has plans for fiber-optic service.

Meeting participant Jim Walls encouraged local civic organizations to support the Hillside Project, which is the open-air Performing Arts Center being developed by the Variety Arts Council behind the Heritage Museum. Meyer encouraged citizens to support the Hillside Project by attending the free Australian Bush Poetry event being held on Saturday, January 28, at 7 p.m., in the Kanab High School auditorium. The program will feature National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo all around winner Dick Warwick and Australian National Champion Carol Heuchan.  All donations will go toward completion of the Hillside Project, which will benefit the entire community.

In the work meeting, the council was advised that the county attorney’s office is seeking a retainer of $50,000 per year to act as the city’s prosecutor in the Justice Court.  Huffman told the council that other quotes have been higher and the county attorney has a closer connection with city law enforcement officers and it is not likely a better offer can be found.

In what may be the most important decision the council made, a unanimous vote was achieved, allowing chickens to reside at single family residences.