Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for April 18, 2012
Kanab City Council tackles curbs, smokestacks and dogs
Jim Guthrie, of Viresco Energy, presented his interpretation of the ordinance specifying new city businesses be required to put in curb, gutter and sidewalk at their property. His proposed coal hydro-gasification plant would be located on Kaneplex Dr. about a quarter mile east of Hwy 89A. It is on the opposite side of the road from the Jackson Flat Reservoir, and a half-mile from the Public Safety Facility.
Guthrie’s argument was there wasn’t any other property with curb and gutter out there. “I agreed to put curb and gutter in after other property owners put their’s in. Wouldn’t it look stranger out there with these improvements than without?”
Acknowledging Guthrie’s take on the subject and where the leased SITLA property is located, the council debated Guthrie’s request to forestall these improvements on the property.
“We can’t vote for anything other than complying with the existing ordinance as it now stands,” said Councilman Ed Meyer. “It would have to go back to the Planning Commission to formulate any changes to the ordinance, which would then require a public hearing and could delay any authorized construction for some time.”
Councilman Kirt Carpenter added, “The ordinance should be enforced as it now stands and curb and gutter should be put in, not put off.”
City Manager Duane Huffman warned, “It’s hard to get people to go back and put something in place after the fact.”
The council’s unanimous consensus was that the ordinance as now written needs to be adhered to and Guthrie needs to install curb, gutter and sidewalk at the property, or place in escrow the funds needed to do so, should the city have to contract the job out at a later date.
The subject of smokestack height at the Viresco plant was also discussed. Viresco’s conditional use permit allows for a 67 foot high flare stack with the addition of another five feet for a flameless (flames from the stack would not be seen) smokestack, and another 60 foot gasifying smokestack. The city currently limits smokestacks to 40 feet in height in an industrial zone.
The council discussed a motion to require Guthrie reduce any existing smokestack higher than 40 feet to that height, should construction or plant operations cease. A motion was made and approved by the council to take no action on this matter now, but have Guthrie return with a proposal to accomplish this task if these conditions occur.
During the work session, Councilmen Meyer and Joe B. Wright reported their findings from a dog scoping meeting held March 29 in Kanab. This meeting was held to gather the feelings of both dog owners (DO) and non-dog owners (NDO) in the city on various issues surrouding dogs.
City residents were able to anonymously register their preferences regarding topics like dogs barking or running loose, which are the major complaints the city receives about dogs. Regarding barking dogs, 92% of DO favored the present enforcement level or more strict, while 88% of NDO felt this way. Dogs running loose enforcement was 77% of DO and 82% of NDO at present or higher enforcement levels.
The issue of increasing the acceptable number of dogs at a residence from two to three was favored by 85% of DO and 63% of NDO, while going to the limit of four dogs was favored by 73% of DO versus only 50% of NDO. The concept of a mini kennel with a $300 license fee for more than two dogs and a minimum amount of acreage was also presented without any conclusions being made.
Most people at that meeting, and the city council meeting, felt that the level of enforcement of current ordinances affecting dogs was not at the level it should be. It was not so much the number of dogs at a residence, but how those dogs were being managed by their owners that creates complaints by their neighbors.
Police Chief Tom Cram stated that the Animal Control Officer was only part time and that at least an hour a day of those four hours were spent tending sheltered dogs and another one to two hours dealt with “reactive enforcement” of received citizen complaints, leaving very little time for proactive intervention.
Several people told the council that if the city put out a call for volunteers to care for dogs at the shelter people would be willing to do so, thereby freeing up more time for the ACO to respond to nuisance calls and patrol.
The councilmen reminded those present that the scoping meeting was only to garner input from residents on these issues, not to dictate any new policy at this time. Several in the audience praised this effort seeing it as a way the council could hear citizen preferences before initiating policy.
Huffman reported good news and bad regarding the city’s request for funds from the Community Impact Board. For the installation of the storm sewer system in conjunction with UDOT’s planned Hwy 89 project this winter, the CIB will provide $155,000 in grant money and a 10 year loan at 2-1/2% interest for another $155,000. Unfortunately, no funds were granted for a new Senior Community Center.
The city received only one proposal for a contract to maintain city grounds this year, which was over $20,000 higher than what the city had budgeted for landscape maintenance. The issue will be taken up in a special meeting before deciding how to proceed.
Bill Phelps, from Spectra Management, outlined the city employees health benefits, describing the plans and cost differences between PEHP, Select Health, Regence BCBS and United Health. Bottom line, Phelps believes the city’s current contract with PHEP’s Advantage plan offered the best coverage at a reasonable cost.
Andi Porter was voted onto Kanab’s Beautification Committee. This committee has openings and interested parties are encouraged to contact the city.
Establishing a Development Committee to review applications for building in Kanab to ensure that all documents required to propose a development in the city are on hand at the time of the application in order to expedite the process was discussed by the council. They decided to refer it to the Planning Commission to get their opinion.
There were some changes made to the Land Use Ordinance, the major one being that the applicant for a CUP does not have to defend his permit if it is appealed. The city could elect to defend it on its own grounds or not.