Huntington City discusses zoning
|Mark H Williams is requesting help in obtaining a right of way for this road near Huntington on SITLA land.|
At the recent Huntington City Council meeting, the subject of rezoning was addressed. Several businesses in Huntington City are being operated within the residential zoning area. These businesses were opened before zoning laws were enacted, and were grandfathered into the city's plan as a result.
Many of the owners of those businesses are now asking for a rezoning of their particular portions of a city block to accommodate expansion or remodeling. One owner, in particular, said she is planning to add on to her business and also build apartments for senior citizens. As the zoning of her property is now, she is not allowed to make the changes that she wishes. Several other business owners were at the meeting in support of her rezoning request.
When asked if she had inquired with the neighbors about the possibility of the rezoning, she stated that all of her neighbors also have businesses on their residential property. She stated that these business owners are in favor of the rezoning. As she explained her plans for an apartment building for senior citizens, Councilman Mark Justice stated, "It is a shame that a city the size of Huntington doesn't have something like this already."
Councilman Norman Dingman, who is the councilman over planning and zoning, stated, "We need some input from the state on this situation. Some of the businesses which have been mentioned are commercial businesses but others are industrial. Spot zoning of a city is really discouraged and has some gray areas associated with it."
The business owner stated that she hopes the council can help her because she has explored many other options and now has no other direction to go. Mayor Jackie Wilson asked if anyone in the audience had any comments on the subject of this rezoning.
One resident, who stated that he did not live near the business in question, but he did live near another in town. He stated that if the rezoning is allowed to happen, it would open the door to other property owned in Huntington City requesting the rezoning also. If the business that his property is near was allowed to expand under the rezoning, it would devalue his property by some $40,000-$50,000. "I am concerned for the private citizens in Huntington who live near a home based business. It is not clear at the present time if this rezoning is even legal," he said.
Councilman Justice moved to allow Huntington City to move into the process of rezoning and find out what steps would have to be taken, and follow them. The council approved to begin the investigation process for the rezoning. Mayor Wilson instructed the council to contact Meg Ryan and Sydney Fonnesbeck with the state for direction.
Another item of interest at the council meeting was a presentation made by Emery County Public Lands Director Ray Petersen. Petersen explained the ordinance which was recently approved by the Emery County Commissioners. This ordinance, with an attached map, deals with the use of ATVs on county roads. Petersen explained the ordinance and the process that had been followed. Bruce Wilson handed out maps that show the county roads and their designation as far as ATVs are concerned.
The purpose of Emery County designating county roads as open or closed is for ATV riders to gain access to BLM or forest service land that is open for riding. Access to open pubic land is the only reason an ATV should be on a road, either county, state or otherwise. No one is allowed to ride an ATV for errands around town or to go visiting. Riders can only ride on city or county roads to access open trails.
In Huntington, the road that is designated open to ATV travel to access open public lands on the east side of town is River Road. There are still safety concerns, but to allow access to open public land, this one was selected. On the west side of Huntington, Flour Mill Road (400 North), and South Flat Road are the ones that are open to access public lands.
Petersen noted that the map that denotes the roads in the county, also denotes the BLM roads and trails that are designated as open. It is the intention of the county to erect signs, with the help from state and OHV club grants and manpower, to mark the routes which are open, although the ordinance states that it is the responsibility of the rider to consult a map and know which are legal to ride.
Mark H Williams was at the council meeting to request support from the council concerning a right of way near Huntington. During the 2004 legislative session, House Bill 220 set aside $1.50 from each registered OHV into a restricted fund. This fund is very restrictive in its use, but one use is to purchase right of ways for OHV use. He stated that during Heritage Days, the SEUOHV Club sponsored a poker ride west of Huntington. This ride is mainly on School and Institutional Trust Lands Act lands. Another tract of land is located east of Huntington where the club hosts its spring poker ride.
Williams asked the council to consider giving their support to the project which will pursue a grant from the funds available to OHV use, and purchase the rights of way on these two parcels of land. These rights of way will guarantee the use of the trails in the future. He stated that many counties in Utah are following this course of action also. The council approved to support this effort. Petersen advised the council that this same proposal has come before the commissioners, and that a subcommittee is being formed to investigate the plan. Tori Killian is heading up that subcommittee and Petersen requested that a Huntington City council member contact Killian.
The next Huntington City Council meeting is Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Huntington City Hall.