After months of work, revisions, public hearings and discussion the Castle Dale beautification ordinance has been approved by the Castle Dale City council.
A public hearing was held on Aug. 13 for the final discussions. The first public hearing was for the parking ordinance. Zoning administrator Kerry Lake spoke about the ordinance saying parking on the street is a safety concern for pedestrians and a visibility issue for drivers if boats, RVs, trailers and motorhomes are left on the city streets for long periods of time. This ordinance was brought before the council and reviewed and changes were made and it was also reviewed by the city attorney and the recommendations were added to the ordinance.
Vehicles may be left on the city streets no longer than 48 hours for the purpose of unloading and loading. Also people should not park any vehicle within 50 feet of an intersection so as to maintain a clear view in intersections. The meeting was opened to public comments and Bill Sharp stated he agreed with the ordinance and it was just and fair and necessary for the safety of people.
The city council approved the parking ordinance.
The second public hearing dealt with the beautification ordinance. Mayor Neal Peacock outlined the guidelines for receiving comments in the public hearing. Comments would be limited to 2.5 minutes per person. Lake spoke first outlining the reasons for undertaking the ordinance. He said they have reviewed ordinances from other cities and had previous hearings on the beautification ordinance. The attorney also reviewed the ordinance. The ordinance meets all state codes and has been reviewed three times. It includes many good things for safety and beautification for Castle Dale. One item they changed was the height of weeds allowed on a property to 18 inches. Lake felt like if the ordinance passes everyone including him will have to make some changes on their properties.
Larry Harrington directed some of his comments to Bill Sharp. He said he didn't like the way Sharp had called the county commission socialists. He said sometimes it takes years to get a property cleaned up and old houses removed. He said if people need help getting their yards cleaned up they should call a church group and others who would be willing to help out. There are a lot of people who would be glad to help out stated Harrington.
Emmalee Larsen said she is a renter and lives in Olson trailer park. She is a senior and it's not always easy to get the yard work completed. But, she has had the help of church groups and her family members who help keep her yard up. "It shows pride in your community to keep a nice yard. It's good to have pride in what you have. It shows integrity and respect for your neighbors. It shows you care about your community," said Larsen.
Julie Johansen said she appreciates the opportunity to speak and she applauds the city council for what they are trying to do. She thinks rules and ordinances are good guidelines for everyone to follow. "Ordinances protect your property and it seems ridiculous not to have enforcement. The state mandates many ordinances and Castle Dale isn't doing anything unusual," said Johansen. She called for the city council to adopt the ordinance.
Eugene Pizzuto said he thinks the beautification is great. His 90 year old mother still keeps her yard up. He doesn't want to live by someone with a weed patch and he thinks many areas of the city need to be cleaned up. He picks up garbage everywhere and garbage that blows into his yard. "They are not trying to take our land, just beautify our land," said Pizzuto.
Monica Eley said she doesn't understand why everyone is freaking out over rules. Didn't Moses come off the mountain with a set of rules in the 10 commandments. Rules make men honest. She has seen people already taking the initiative to clean up their yards and she doesn't mind helping others with their yards.
Cindy Lopez said she likes a beautiful world and beautiful things too. But, she also likes the constitution and the right to privacy and the right to private property. She feels the government is being influenced by a plan coming down from the United Nations. She wondered if the ordinance in question brings Castle Dale into compliance with the International sustainable property maintenance ordinance. She said you can tell by language which includes noxious weeds, demolition, etc. The county has adopted five of these. Her concern is the states who have adopted this have totally eliminated boundaries. She said she too is glad to help anyone who needs help and she believes it is a mean spirited ordinance.
Winston Palmer said he has read the property beautification ordinance. He lives in Castle Dale and he thinks at least half of the properties will be out of compliance if this ordinance passes. The only way to enforce the ordinance fairly is to give all those people a citation. He believes people will be forced to keep their yards looking nice. He said he has talked to people who feel they have been targeted. He believes it will cost the older retired people money. Most of the people he has talked to are against the ordinance. He too believes people are happy to help others and his grandsons help him keep his yard work done.
Adam Thompson said he loves freedom and feels we have a great civilization and it depends on rules. He related a problem he had in another town where the neighbor's dying elm tree kept causing problems for him and his family. The tree dropped limbs upon his car and broke the windshield and caused other damage. He wasn't protected and had to pay all the costs himself. He thinks an ordinance of this type would have helped his situation. People need to take responsibility when their property causes damage to others.
Bill Sharp said he was with a group of people at the Take Back Utah rally and he thinks they would disagree with what was being said in Castle Dale. He believes private property rights are being stepped on with this ordinance. He said he doesn't like weeds but he feels this is government intrusion on private property. That's why the Revolutionary war was fought because of infringement on private property rights. He doesn't feel the city should make any ordinance that allows the city to enter private property. He would like to see the ordinance put into the courts to see how it would come out. This is going onto private property without a warrant stated Sharp.
Charmaine Sharp said she has a problem with the penalties which will be imposed if you are out of compliance with the ordinance. "It makes you a criminal for not cleaning your yard. I don't think you should have those types of penalties," said Sharp. She thinks there might be reasons why people don't have their yards clean, maybe they work three jobs and can't get it cleaned up maybe they don't have time, and the penalties shouldn't be there.
Josh White said he applauds the city for putting together this ordinance. He is lucky because he has good neighbors on both sides who help him out. He thinks constitutional rights should only go so far as you don't infringe upon other people. He is glad the height limit on the weeds was raised from 6 inches to 18 inches. He thinks people should keep their yards nice to keep the property values up in the neighborhoods.
Jarold Jeffs said he is glad he has neighbors now in his backyard because it has taken care of his mice problem. He feels the ordinance is written in such a way that penalties will be imposed over a period of time for a violation. He knows a lot of volunteers who will help with yards. He works but still would volunteer to help. He thinks property values in his neighborhood have been devalued because some people in the neighborhood don't take care of their yards. "I recommend the council pass the ordinance," said Jeffs.
Mae Jorgensen said she has lived in Castle Dale for more than 50 years and she thinks there are more unsightly yards than ever before. The older people took pride in their yards. She lives by an unsightly property and has troubles with raccoons, squirrels and other animals, because no one is at the property. She urged the council to pass the ordinance.
Shelly Allred said she has been in Castle Dale for 16 years and lived by a property that has been torn down and now a lot of her problems have been taken care of. It took a lot of time to get that property cleaned up. She said she does work three jobs and has three children, and a half-acre corner lot and she takes the time to clean her property. She thinks there are a lot of things around the city that need to be cleaned up.
The public hearing closed as there were no more comments and Mayor Peacock opened the discussion to council members. Brad Giles said he agrees with the height of the weeds being increased. He would also like to see language included that deals with garbage cans left on the streets.
Mayor Peacock explained that many of the problems Castle Dale has experienced over the years has been by absentee property owners. They don't live here and they don't see to it, their property is taken care of. The purpose of the new ordinance is to make things easier and not harder for residents. Castle Dale City has gone through four public hearings, three in city council meeting and one in the zoning administration meeting. "It has been reviewed by our city attorney. The city attorney feels that it is constitutional." The mayor also said the Utah attorney general's office had been contacted and alerted that Castle Dale City was trying to pass an unconstitutional ordinance. Mayor Peacock met with the Emery County Attorney and reviewed the ordinance and he didn't see anywhere that it was unconstitutional.
The attorney general's office contacted Mayor Peacock and asked for a copy of the ordinance which he provided. The attorney general's office sent a letter saying there was nothing criminal or out of line with the ordinance. "The state of Utah says it's not illegal or unconstitutional and I tend to agree with them," said Mayor Peacock. He said the ordinance is not mean spirited. Mayor Peacock said the city is not going to issue large numbers of citations. Right now, they are going to identify the properties that are the most dangerous to the citizens. Mayor Peacock joked, "If your weeds grow higher that 18 inches and we're not right there to cite you then forgive us, because we are going to concentrate on the most dangerous properties first. I have had a lot to do with this ordinance. It is a better ordinance than what we have in place."
Councilmember Joel Dorsch expressed his appreciation to those at the meeting who came to voice their opinions. The council voted to adopt the new ordinance. The council then discussed the amendments to the ordinance including the weed height being at 18 inches. They also discussed the garbage cans on the road and determined you can put out garbage cans 12 hours prior to garbage pick-up day and remove then 12 hours after garbage day. If you are out of town make arrangements to have your garbage cans brought in by a neighbor suggested the council. The council also discussed the part of the ordinance pertaining to abandoned vehicles. Any inoperable vehicles must be obscured behind an opaque fence; no more than two such vehicles are allowed. An inoperable vehicle must not remain on a city street longer than a week. The amendments to the ordinance passed.
In other business a business license was approved for a home occupation nail shop. The fire department replaced a broken wire used for hanging banners. The fire department will work on replacing all these wires over the next three months. They are still working on getting new trucks. The fall burn window is approaching.
Councilmember Giles asked the council to recommend projects to be considered by the CIB. The project they want added to the list is the replacement of all remaining cast iron culinary water lines in the city. Giles said there are eight cities competing for $500,000. He reported 400 West is coming along well. He needs input on the placement of a speed bump at 400 West.
Councilmember Kollette Cologie reported they are reorganizing the youth city council. She was able to meet with Rep. Jim Matheson at the Castle Valley Ranch with other mayors and city council members from around the county.
Dorsch reported the sprinklers are in and have power and the wiring is almost done. The pumps will pump more water than ever before. They are also taking bids for the lining for parking at the indoor arena.
Councilmember GayLee Jeffs thanked the city council and staff of Castle Dale employees for their help with the fair. The concert went well and there was a record crowd at the Friday night rodeo. Flag football is registering now online and registration for soccer and youth football will take place Aug. 25-26. Peach Days is Sept. 8-12; Melon Days is Sept. 18-19. Castle Dale City will host their annual pumpkin festival on Oct. 24 at 5 p.m.
Councilmember Jack Rogers complimented the fire department on their fireworks display on July 24 and for their efforts involving training.
Mayor Peacock said Commissioner Gary Kofford contacted him to thank Castle Dale City for their contribution for the bathrooms at the new Aquatics park by the pool. The mayor reported on the forest service house saying things are at a standstill there. It has been 11 months since Castle Dale City paid the $26,000 for the studies needed. The studies must be done on the local level. This forest service house on Main Street in Castle Dale must go through the same procedures as any sale of forest service property including archaeological study, paleo study, environmental study. etc.
The property was donated to the forest service by Castle Dale City in 1947 for the purpose of locating the headquarters for the forest service in Castle Dale, but they were never put in Castle Dale. The portion of property where the playground equipment and grass are in place at the fairgrounds was returned to Castle Dale City, but the portion containing the house and horse corral was not. Castle Dale must purchase this property with house at fair market value. So for now the property is in limbo. Castle Dale would like to use the property to expand the fairgrounds and will determine its most beneficial use. They are anxious to see a conclusion brought to the problems with the forest service property. Mayor Peacock feels like things have been pushed to the back burner and he would like to see something done with the property, considering Castle Dale paid for these studies to take place nearly a year ago. Now, the forest ranger is changing and Mesia Nyman is going to the Ogden office and an acting forest ranger is being appointed to the area.
Castle Dale City has changed the date of their next meeting to Sept. 16 at 7 p.m.