The Kane County Land Use Authority (LUA) November 10, 2010 meeting was brought to order by Chairman James Baker.

Sean Winters appeared before the LUA on behalf of the “for profit” International Wilderness Leadership School (IWLS), a recreational camp. The IWLS specializes in providing courses in wilderness education, outdoor leadership training and technical instruction. Winters stated he has been working with Tom Sawyer, the owner of the property, in leasing a 10-acre parcel in Section 29 for the IWLS. The proposed site is located approximately three miles east of Johnson Canyon Road. It is north east of Crescent Butte and sets back about 1/4th of a mile to the north of Highway 89 between mileposts 53 and 52. The property is zoned Rec-R-10 (Recreational-Residential 10 acres).

Administrator Gary Smith stated the use of the land as a school is allowed as a “conditional use.” Winters submitted a Conditional Use Permit application for Parcel #0289-132, Section 29, Township, 43 Range 4.25 West, size 10 acres. Winters stated on the application: “IWLS will put in non-permanent wall tents, travel toilet and culinary water supply (moveable) for occupancy two days a week for classes and trip packing etc. If permitted wall tents will stay established in one spot and be moved seasonally.” Winters stated the intent is to bring about 13 people to the camp-site two days a week, and do back packing trips from that location.

LUA Member Tom Forsythe mentioned about 100 acres of Section 29 was subdivided into 10 parcels with approximately 10 acres to each parcel, but that it is not a developed/approved subdivision. It was recorded as subdivided in the 1980’s

Two people were in the audience who own property in Section 29. They voiced their concerns about how the IWLS plan will affect their property values now and in the future. Most of the parcels are vacant and some are for sale. Comments on how the presence of a “tent facility” will look to potential buyers were discussed. Another area of concern was how the constant flow of strangers coming into the area would be maintained in an orderly fashion. That was one of the main concerns of the owner who lives on the property adjacent to the proposed site, making it an uncomfortable situation. An objection was also raised as to the county setting a pattern for this type of commercial enterprise in a residential area.

Winters said IWLS has larger facilities throughout the country but wanted a smaller area to be closer to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and that IWLS will do all they can to be a “low impact to the community.” He added that the property is well hidden and they will not be cutting down any trees.

Chairman Baker referred to the Kane County Land Use Ordinance created February 13, 2010 Chapter 15, 9-15-1 Purpose. “A conditional use, because of its unique characteristics or potential impact on the county, surrounding neighbors or adjacent land uses, may not be compatible in some areas of Kane County, Utah or may be compatible only if certain conditions are required that mitigate or eliminate the detrimental impacts.”

The LUA members agreed they need a more detailed site plan and information regarding disposal of gray water, etc. Member Roger Chamberlain suggested a field trip to the location to be scheduled for further LUA consideration. Administrator Smith advised the concerned property owners they would be informed as to when the LUA members intend to visit the proposed site.

Chairman Baker added “This looks like a neat venture and we’d like to see it up and running here in the county, but at the same time we have to consider the property rights of those adjoining your proposed site as well as the interests of Kane County’s taxpayers. We’ll gather the information we need to make a good decision”.

Administrative: the LUA reviewed six Parcel Joinder Requests by property owners within the subdivisions of Meadow View Estates, Zion View Estates, Ponderosa Villa, Swains Creek Pines to combine several lots into one parcel to save on property taxes. All six were recommended to the Kane County Commissioners for final approval.

Administrative: Tom Avant of TC Engineering appeared on behalf of Kevin McLaws and submitted an application for a Subdivision & Planned Unit Development (PUD) known as The Points. The signed agreement is made by and between Zion Mountain Resort Inc. (the “Subdivider”) and Kane County. Neil Adair, who was in the audience, asked if all the (roll-back) taxes were paid, and also voiced concerns over access and highway turn-lane issues.

Avant replied, according to the Kane County Treasurer, all the taxes have been paid, and the construction plans for five houses have been approved.

Administrator Smith said the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) requirements have already been met through the Buffalo Ridge Development, and confirmed that all the required paperwork is in order. The LUA recommended the application to the Kane County Commissioners for final approval. 

Chairman Baker read aloud letters addressed to the Planning Commission from Merlin Esplin and Dustin and Harmony Cox, stating they felt the county’s Land Use Ordinances are becoming too restrictive and could be considered as violating private property rights. Baker stated the letters would be entered into the public records.

Public Hearing: Proposed Ordinance Changes to Zoning Matrixes-Zones. Chairman Baker prefaced the hearing by stating, “many of the ordinance and action recommendations that we (the LUA) deal with through our trainings and the parameters we operate with come from the judicial branch of government. When an issue is decided before a court it creates what is called case law. If somebody presents a legal challenge to something we the (LUA) do, then the attorneys and judges go back and review similar legal decisions that were made in the past and those decisions will weigh into their actions and rulings.”

Deputy Kane County Attorney Rob Van Dyke confirmed that statement.

Baker continued, “We have to acknowledge case law in the things we do on this commission. We can’t just ignore it or wish it away.” Chairman Baker stated in various training sessions that the LUA members were advised very strongly to make our (the county’s) use matrixes as inclusive as possible to minimize the possibility of the LUA being interpreted as being “arbitrary and capricious.” If that wasn’t adhered to during the LUA decision-making process, it could potentially place the county in costly legal “hot water.”

The types of uses are listed by category in the various zones by (P) for Permitted or (C) for the need of a Conditional Use Application to be submitted to the LUA. Baker explained the Land Use Ordinances belong to the people of Kane County and are designed to work for the benefit of everyone. If a situation arises and as times change, the ordinances or the use tables can be amended by the procedures outlined in the State Code and County Ordinance.

Baker also stated the LUA members and staff have worked very hard on compiling the proposed Matrixes and Use Table Comparisons. It would be very difficult to compare the various uses and conditional uses between one zone and another without the tables prepared by Administrator Smith and Secretary Shannon McBride. “Zoning information is critical and it is important that it is entered accurately into the county’s database,” said McBride.

The zone FR (Forest Recreational) has been eliminated as a zone as it doesn’t apply to areas within Kane County. 

Kane County Commissioner-elect Dirk Clayson and Lynette Foster of ERA Realty addressed the LUA and suggested some less restrictive changes to the proposed Use Table Comparison list.

After further input from the LUA members, Chief Deputy Building Official Ryan Maddux and Deputy County Attorney Rob Van Dyke, the decision was made to schedule a work session to review the suggestions and discuss potential revisions to the use matrixes.

Note: Utah Code 17-27a-506 Explains Conditional Uses.