What are citizen planners? The Kane County Commissioners appoint seven members to the Land Use Authority (LUA) Commission as citizen planners. They are everyday people who are not compensated for their time in reviewing land use questions. 

As per the Kane County Land Use Ordinance Chapter 1. General Provisions. (9-1-2), it is the intent and purpose of the Board of County Commissioners of Kane County, State of Utah, to avail itself of the powers granted under Title 17, Chapter 27a of the Utah Code Annotated 1953, as amended and LUDMA (Land Use Development Management Act) as amended in a manner that will promote the health, safety, morals, convenience, order, prosperity, and general welfare of the present and future inhabitants of Kane County.

As a reporter, I attended the August 11, 2010, LUA meeting, stating I would like to do an article about the LUA for the Southern Utah News. I submitted this question, in writing with my e-mail address and gave it to each member of the Land Use Authority:

“As a citizen planner, what is your vision and future goals regarding land use issues for Kane County and its residents?” Responses of five LUA members were sent to me via e-mail and are as follows:

LUA Chairman James R. Baker: “My vision and goals for Kane County’s land use issues would read as follows: “I see appropriate uses for land in appropriate areas, I see well thought-out zones and densities that preserve the area’s agricultural heritage while allowing for growth in residential and commercial endeavors. I see the proper administration of our land use ordinance as a means of guaranteeing that a person’s rights are protected and preserved – to include the applicant’s, the surrounding property owners, and the taxpayers. I see this proper administration as a means to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the people of Kane County and those traveling through or engaging in recreational activities. As Chair of Kane County’s Land Use Commission, I see a continuation of the improvement in customer service that we have strived for from our administrative department and in our Land Use public meetings and hearings.

I envision a continuous process of refinement to our land use ordinance, being sensitive to the needs of the people it is designed to serve and to the county’s general plan that it is designed to facilitate, being ever mindful of the Constitutional rights of the individual to property and to acknowledge and protect those rights. My immediate goals for the Land Use Commission would be the further refinement of our ordinance, while placing the property rights of the individual at the forefront of our efforts. Long-term goals would include maintaining a vigilant watch over further proposed or “required” changes to our ordinance, particularly those emanating from other government agencies or departments. Continued training for both myself and members of our commission would be in order as well.”

Member Tony Chelewski: “To interpret the Land Use Authority Regulations:

1. Insuring subdividers and citizens follow regulations as specified.

2.Updating county Land Use Authority regulations as land use changes.

3. Insuring citizens are able to use their land as they wish within the scope of the law.

4. Maintaining those tracts of land used for farming, ranching, or commercial endeavors.”

Member Dale E. Clarkson: “Ownership of real property is an inalienable right made available by the U.S. Constitution to its citizens as outlined by the Founding Fathers of this nation. The opportunity to own and use land has built this great nation! The Land Use Authority of Kane County should not desire to, or in fact, take the rights of ownership or use of real property away from the landowner; those who own land and pay taxes have strong rights without arbitrary governmental interference. Planning commissions were initially positive, progressive and helpful in nature, but in some instances have become very restrictive and dictatorial. I want to see the Kane County Land Use Authority be helpful to our citizens who own land and pay taxes which support our county budget, and assist them in the planning of/use of their property without infringing on their neighbors and other citizens of our beautiful area. I believe, as the Land Use Authority of Kane County, we can do this.”

Member Tom Forsythe: “I believe that as a member of the Planning Commission, my views become apparent in our discussions, followed by our votes, on the various issues we address. Making an official ‘vision’ statement seems counter-productive to the flexibility in decision-making that is necessary in my public role.”

Member Dale Spencer: “My vision of issues for Kane County and its residents is that we are looking at difficult times as long as we as citizens expect the government and law enforcement to solve our problems. Each of us need to be a good neighbor and live the golden rule and not try to cause problems, even if it is legal. I see problems because citizens do not trust government and therefore are not willing to support it in many circumstances. Too many of us do not want to, or feel we are too busy, or for other reasons don’t get involved and learn the reasons that created the problems that exist.

My goal is to return land use authority to land owners and give them the opportunity and responsibility to make decisions with their property. I am a volunteer helping the county commissioners and public guide and assist land owners in making proper decisions.”


Reporter’s Note: Responses of Kane County Commissioner LUA Ex-Offico Douglas Heaton, and other LUA staff members will appear in next week’s issue.