Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for March 31, 2010
What comes first? The Kane County General Plan or the Kane County Land Use Ordinances?
In 1998, Kane County adopted a General Plan pursuant to Utah State Code Provisions of Section 17-27-303 of the Utah Code guidelines. Volunteer citizen planners as residents of Kane County had an impact upon the preparation and adoption of a 1998 General Plan in determining the future of Kane County. The plan was approved and adopted on June 22, 1998.
The Kane County Planning Commission in 1998 were: Thayne Smith, Chairman, Norman Carroll, Commission Rep., Roger Chamberlain, Greg Glazier, Orval Palmer, Lawrence Reese, Bob Russell and Leroy Wickland. County Commissioners: Norman Carroll, Stephen R. Crosby and Joe C. Judd. Other participants in the planning process: Kane County Staff, Kane County General Plan Advisory Committee, Kane County Water Conservancy District, Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, Bush and Gudgell Eng., Dept. of Interior, and the Five County Assoc. of Governments. (1998 General Plan Page 8)
The 1998 General Plan Vision Statement: (General Plan Page 9) Kane County, Utah, is a land of contrasts. Its 4100 sq. miles of territory extend from the sandstone deserts of Glen Canyon and Lake Powell to the 10,000 ft. high alpine meadows of the Pansaugunt Plateau. A basic premise of this plan is land uses in unincorporated areas cannot be as intensive as uses inside municipalities, where necessary services are available.
Given these basic premises, the Kane County Commission will use this plan to guide land use decision-making for the unincorporated county. This plan will assure present and future residents and visitors to the unincorporated areas of Kane County will be housed in safe, sanitary, and attractive conditions. Land uses in the unincorporated county will reflect the intent of the commission to direct intensive, urban-scale uses to municipalities where basic services can be accommodated.
The commission will be an active partner with other governments to foster a sustainable, broad-based economy, which allows traditional economic uses to remain vibrant, while fostering new economic activities, which expand economic opportunity and protect important scenic and social qualities.
Federal land management planning process will include Kane County as an active, on-going partner and will be consistent with county goals and policies when not constrained by federal law.
1998 Summary of Major Goals: (General Plan Page 10) Land Use, Transportation and Circulation, Environment, Public Services and Facilities, Rehabilitation and Conservation, Economic Development, Housing, Public Lands.
1998 Implementation: (General Plan Page 11) This document will be reviewed on an annual basis in a joint meeting of the planning commission, resource development committee and county commission. The meeting will be centered on the validity of policies laid out in the plan, and a discussion of any adjustments, which should be made. In addition, the plan will undergo a comprehensive revision on a three to five year cycle.
Utah Code 17-16-060: The planning commission, after holding a public hearing thereon, may from time to time recommend to the county commission an amendment, extension or addition to the plan or in carrying any part or subject matter into greater detail.
For one reason or another, the Kane County General Plan has not been amended, revised or updated since 1998.
According to Utah Code Section 17-27a-102: To accomplish the goals of the general plan, counties may enact all ordinances, resolutions, and rules and may enter into other forms of land use controls and development agreements that they consider necessary or appropriate for the use and development of land within the unincorporated area of the county.
That is the purpose of the Land Use Authority. Should the Land Use Ordinances be consistent with the General Plan?
On February 13, 2010, the Kane County Land Use Authority approved revisions to the 2006 Land Use Ordinances. With this approval, inconsistencies to the 1998 General Plan were inadvertently created. Change is inevitable keeping up with those changes is the hard part.
According to the 1992 Census of Agriculture, (1998 General Plan page 19) Kane County contained 136 farms encompassing 210,000 acres, or 8% of the land base. Of those 210,000 acres, 12,000 acres was cropland, and less than 5,000 acres was irrigated. Most of the cropland was devoted to hay production (2,800 acres) with wheat (156 acres) and oats (64 acres) being the other common crops produced. About 60 acres were devoted to orchard production. What is it now?
Bob Russell, a county commissioner in the mid 70s and a former member of the Land Use Authority, stated the five-acre minimum land use was never an issue with the General Plan or Kane County. It is part of the Utah Farmland Assessment Act (FAA, also called the Greenbelt Act). Russell also said any division of a parcel of land recognized by the state, is considered to be a “subdivision”; it doesn’t necessarily mean a residential, industrial subdivision or multiple housing subdivision will be constructed on that property.
On October 1, 2009, State of Utah House Bill 1001: The Subdivision Approval Amendment became effective. This bill authorizes an owner of at least 100 contiguous acres of agricultural land within a county of the third, fourth, fifth, or sixth class to divide from the land a single lot without complying with subdivision plat requirements or county subdivision ordinances and prohibits a county of the third, fourth, fifth or sixth class from denying a building permit to an owner of a minor subdivision lot if the lot meets the county’s reasonable health, safety, and access standards that the county has established and made public.
The Land Use Authority Commission realizes the need to take action in updating the Kane County General Plan. It will take time, money, cooperation and public input for it to become a successful workable plan. The end results will be sent to the county commissioners for final approval.
As a side note, the population of Kane County according to the 2000 Census was 6,046. In July 2008, it was estimated to be 6,577. What will it be in the 2010 Census? Hopefully, Kane County will be ready to accept and adapt to any increase in population with regulations and ordinances pursuant to that increase and will be beneficial to all its residents.