A public hearing to gather comments on an ordinance revision concerning the beautification of Castle Dale City packed the council chambers at the recent meeting. When the time came for residents to comment on the proposed ordinance revisions, those residents became very vocal and there was no question they were unhappy, although several citizens spoke in favor of the changes.
The portion of the public hearing dealing with ordinance 3-8, property maintenance requirements was the one residents were the most vocal about. Mayor Neal Peacock conducted the hearing and instructed each of the speakers to come to the podium, state their name, and they each would be allotted two and a half minutes to state their opinions. Kerry Lake, Castle Dale planning and zoning commissioner, opened the comment time by explaining that some portions of this proposed ordinance have been in place in Castle Dale for the past 10 years. "It was very vague and when a resident pointed it out, the process was begun to clear up the issues with the current ordinance," Lake stated.
William Sharp, a resident of Castle Dale was the first to speak. "I just want all the residents of Castle Dale to know you can vote yourself into slavery, but you cannot vote yourself out," said Sharp. "This proposed bill places more and more regulations on the citizens and creates tyrants of the city government. It is very clear that government has forgotten why they were put into office. They are to protect our God given rights, not take them away. This ordinance is so vague, it can be considered a tyrant's wish list," concluded Sharp.
During the two hour public hearing, Sharp would make several more comments, including comparing the city council to the Gestapo. He also feels that people are more American who have more junk in their yards.
Julie Sharp spoke next and she read a prewritten letter which was handed out to everyone who attended the meeting. "As an American, you have the God given right to life, liberty and property. Property rights are the right of the people to freely obtain and use property and the exclusive authority to determine how property is used," she said. The remainder of her time was spent explaining her view of the proposed ordinance and how she felt the city would take people's property by force.
Resident Cindy Lopez expressed her concerns that no one in Castle Dale was made aware of this proposed ordinance change. "No one in town is aware that you are changing laws," she said. "I feel whatever you are going to be allowed to do, you don't single people out. Do it fairly. It is very distressful when government can take things away from people."
Norma Cutts suggested the council table this ordinance change until every homeowner in the city can be notified.
Mayor Peacock then gave his two and a half minutes to William Sharp who had more to say. "People in Castle Dale do not want to have their rights taken away. Re-election is right around the corner. This elitist society is totally out of hand," said Sharp. "They call it junk, the founding fathers called it a God given right."
Resident Monica Eley said, "Where I live in Castle Dale, I have lived there for 11 years. I have been very vigilant about moving our RV off the public street, and also keeping my yard and property cleaned up. But, when the wind blows, I get garbage from others' yards into my yard and I get in trouble. I pay my taxes and abide by the laws, my neighbors should too."
Bryan Anderson made the comment that during his time as the county building inspector, he would deal with people who did not like an ordinance and did not like having to obey the ordinances. "Without a doubt, six months later I would be right back there with the same person and I would hear complaints about how something should be done about someone impinging on his rights."
Dennis Behling said he did not like what the city was trying to put on its residents. Jeff Hayward said the proposed ordinance is too vague. Ignacio Arriens said most of the ordinance deals with safety issues for the residents. Kim Edgehouse said everyone is an adult and we should act like it and be responsible for our property. Charmaine Sharp said she felt more residents should be made aware of this proposed bill before it is acted upon.
Mayor Peacock informed everyone that the city had advertised by every means required by law and gone beyond the requirements and mailed this information to many of the interested residents. "Do not accuse us of not notifying people. We did everything required and then went a little extra to inform people," said Mayor Peacock.
Lake said, "Irregardless of whether this ordinance is passed or not, the current ordinance on the books, is much more vague and open ended. This proposal is more clarifying than the current ordinance."
Karen Huntsman, a member of the Castle Dale beautification committee said, "We wouldn't need these laws if everyone would take pride in their yards, their property, and their community."
Carl Jacobsen said to the council, "You are not the Gestapo. You are decent human beings. Thank you for your service to the city. I feel very badly that this issue is creating such division. I love Castle Dale and I appreciate the work you do. Please pass this ordinance and move on."
After giving everyone who wanted to speak the opportunity, Mayor Peacock said a few words in defense of the council's actions in drawing up this proposed ordinance change. "As a city council, we are not less bound by law, we are more bound by law." He then spoke to each individuals complaints and answered many questions.
Following the closing of the public hearing, the council approved to table accepting this ordinance and encourage all Castle Dale residents to comment and give the city suggestions for handling the beautification problems in the city. Comments can be written and taken to city hall, or can be made vocally to any city council member. Comments should be made prior to May 11 as this issue will be on the agenda for May's meeting.
In other business conducted by Castle Dale, a public hearing was held to gather comments concerning the amendment to the fireworks ordinance to bring Castle Dale's ordinance in line with the state ordinance concerning fireworks. This action was approved. In another public hearing, comments were heard concerning Castle Dale City and whether the county emergency operations plan should be adopted. Several residents voiced concerns about the Federal Government becoming involved in the county. Action on this issue was tabled for more review and investigation into concerns.
The city council voted to accept the five year equipment purchase policy for Castle Dale. According to this policy, a Gator and a backpack blower will be purchased for this season. The policy will be followed for the equipment purchases for the next five years.
The next Castle Dale City Council meeting will be held May 14 at 7 p.m. at city hall.