Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for September 3, 2015
Settlement reached on swimming pool lawsuit
Mayor Robert Houston updated the status of some long standing city issues.
The prolonged lawsuit the city has had with companies involved with the construction of the swimming pool was settled August 21. Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) and Landmark Aquatics, the principal defendants, have agreed to pay the city $130,000, with RMC agreeing to aide in repairing the pool, which will begin September14.
The architectural plans for the new airport terminal are finished and are available for review and comment at the city office.
The golf course issue remains on the respirator. The mayor reported he had a conversation with a Mr. Martella, who stated he formerly owned a 90 percent interest in the golf course properties, but sold it to another party, who he is in contact with. The mayor anticipates the person holding the majority interest in the golf course itself (not necessarily the business aspect that 10 percent owner Mike Scholian had) will make a decision soon on its fate. Scholian is scheduled to appear at the September 22 city council meeting with any new proposals.
Amendments to Kanab’s Land Use Ordinance (LUO) occupied most of the discussion at the Kanab City Council (KCC) meeting on August 25.
Changes for appealing decisions by the Planning and Zoning Committee (PZC) and the KCC regarding approvals or denials of building projects, known as actions, were proposed. That generated many comments at the public hearing.
Along with some general housekeeping of Chapter 3 of the LUO, the major proposals made by city attorney Jeff Stott were to increase the cost of initiating an appeal from $150 to $250, shortening the length of time to make the appeal from the date the action was granted from 10 business days to 10 calendar days, and requiring a decision on the appeal be made by the appeals officer within 14 days of receiving it.
During the public hearing comment period, Joan Thacher, who sits on the PZC, remarked that the PZC did not post an agenda for their last meeting on their website, nor have they posted a public hearing notice in the newspaper 10 days before the meeting as required.
“Public business should be conducted before the public,” she commented. “We don’t work for the applicant, we work for the public. It’s no wonder people perceive that important decisions are made ahead of any public input.”
Caralee Woods noted that the city failed to provide the public with the 10 day notice of the public hearing at this meeting by giving only five days notice.
“There is no context in the KCC agenda notices to alert the public to what is actually being discussed and maybe generate more participation by citizens,” Woods said. “It’s not always about what is going on, but how things appear to be taking place in the public’s eye. Questioning government actions is part of being in a democracy.”
Herb Alexander stated, “The $250 is just too high for many of our citizens, and the 10 business days should be retained.”
Allen Gilberg thought that initiating the appeal process should stop the project at that time, but was told that it is up to the applicant to make the decision to stop or not and risk further loss if the appeal is sustained.
The council decided to keep the appeal fee at $150, with Councilman Kent Burggraaf voting nay. They felt 10 calendar days was sufficient time to file an appeal, and incorporated a 14-day limit on the appeals officer to render his decision.
City Manager Joe Decker briefed the city council on his meeting with Bob Nicholson, a city planner he hopes to hire part-time. “The first thing he said to me impressed me,” said Decker. “He said city ordinances need to be easy to write, easy to read and enforceable.” The agreement is pending and is being offered at $900/ month for 15 hours of total time, and $60/hour for time over the base amount.
The Conditional Use Ordinance changes centered around getting away from making conditional uses an administrative decision to making them permitted with restrictions.
No changes were made to the criteria for indigent burials at the city cemetery. The mayor will continue to determine indigent status. There has been only one indigent burial in the past 30 years.
The primary election turn out was 37 percent of registered voters, totaling 2147 votes.