Updated: Jan 7
During their meeting on December 8, the Kane County Planning & Zoning Commission recommended denying three applications for rezoning, because the rezoning would open up for future commercial development that could be detrimental to other property owners and infringe on their property rights.
The rezoning applications were for three properties in respectively Johnson Canyon, Cedar Mountain and the Canyon Country subdivision east of Kanab. All three properties were located in or adjacent to residential neighborhoods. If approved the rezoning would considerably expand the permitted land uses.
The Kane County Commission will make the final decision on the rezoning applications at their next meeting, which was held during production of this edition of the SUN.
About 50 people attended last week’s public hearings in person. An unknown number joined via conference call. The meeting had been moved to Kanab Center to accommodate the large number of people attending.
The vast majority of people who submitted public comments in person and by email opposed the rezoning requests.
Rezoning a specific parcel of land within a larger zoned area is referred to as spot zoning. This type of rezoning is often at odds with historic zoning of an area as well as the local jurisdiction’s master plan and current zoning restrictions.
Kane County resident Sam Smith said that spot zoning “singles out small plots solely to benefit the owner and to the detriment of all other property owners.”
One application was submitted by the Virginia company Third Mesa LLC for rezoning of 71 acres of agricultural land (AG) to rural (RU-40) for the Grand Classroom program to operate a seasonal youth camp in Johnson Canyon. Owner JT Maxwell said that Grand Classroom brings students from all over the country to visit national parks.
Eight neighbors spoke against the rezoning. Several property owners expressed concern about trespassing. Judith Palmer said she had worked as a youth leader and in her experience some youth do leave camp at night.
Tracy Coleman argued that a youth camp would not benefit Kane County’s economy because the jobs would be seasonal and low wage. Several people pointed out that Third Mesa should have purchased commercially zoned land if it wants to operate a commercial business.
One property owner who had recently purchased the property next to the Third Mesa property supported the rezoning.
The P&Z Commission voted to recommend denying the rezoning five-to-zero, one member abstained. Commission member Gwen Brown said “we need to protect ag land.” She noted “most people don’t want these [zoning] changes.”
Another application requested rezoning from agricultural (AG) to commercial (C-1) for a 10-acre property at the Canyon Country subdivision, south of Hwy 89, seven miles east of Kanab. The property owner Camile Cotter stated she is the director at Kanab Veterinary Hospital and has installed three RV hookups and plans to build three to four “tiny homes” to rent to new employees moving to the area. Cotter said that the vet hospital struggles to attract new employees and retain current employees due to the housing shortage in Kanab.
Thirteen neighbors opposed the rezoning at the public hearing. Several neighbors said they had specifically purchased their property because they wanted to live in a rural area away from commercial activity. Others were concerned about increased traffic.
Larry Crutchfield said he didn’t oppose the project, but opposed the rezoning because of the potential future uses.
The P&Z Commission noted that commercial rezoning would open up for a long list of potential commercial uses, such as a gas station, retail business, restaurant, office building, and much more.
The P&Z Commission unanimously recommended denying the rezoning. Commission member Brown said that the location was “not an appropriate place. It is not near a major highway.” Commercially zoned properties in Kane County are mostly located along Highway 89 and 89A.
Julie Coefield and Dawn Allensworth had submitted an application to rezone their 10.5 acre property near Duck Village. Coefield said she and her siblings had inherited the property from her parents and she wanted to build a guest cottage in addition to a house on the property. The property is currently listed for sale.
All the properties in the Ponderosa Villa subdivision are zoned R-1/2, which allows for only one dwelling on the property. The homeowners association opposed the rezoning to R-1. Nine neighbors also spoke against the rezoning at the public hearing.
The P&Z Commission members recommended denying the rezoning application by a five-to-one vote. They determined that rezoning to R-1 would allow the property owner to build apartments, condos, duplexes, condos, and other multi-residential homes, which could be detrimental to other property owners in the subdivision.