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How high should that fence be? Hyrum commission tables decision

October 11th, 2014 Posted in Opinion

By Michael Royer

HYRUM — Kelly Johnson wanted an answer, but the Hyrum Planning Commission had an issue with the city’s land code and the commission meeting Thursday night ended without settling much of anything.

Johnson is the owner of AA Access Storage Unites, located at 275 W. Main St., which has been a local Hyrum business since established in 2002.

“We have a successful business here serving the people of Hyrum,” Johnson said. “AA Access is made up of three buildings which offer covered indoor storage units to people.”

Johnson wants to expand his business to offer recreational vehicle and boat storage on his existing property bordering 300 West in Hyrum. “If we get this plan approved, our business would have room for 34 recreational vehicles or boats that are up to 14 feet wide and 40 feet long,” Johnson said.

The commission covered many issues about the proposed plan, including water runoff issues, lighting issues and possible future fire hazards. Commission Chairman Brian Carver said, “There would be no added fire issues as the proposed plan is more than 300 feet away from the nearest habitable structure.”

The biggest issue of the proposed addition was found in the Hyrum Land Use Code, which states that any commercial storage area must be accompanied by an 8-foot-high wall or fence.

“Having an 8-foot-high fence on Main Street, in our town, would be a real eyesore,” said commission member Jeff Nielsen.

Other commission members thought a 6-foot-high fence would be much more appropriate, and a suggestion by City Administrator Ron Salvesen was for Johnson to make a landscape fence out of trees or shrubs.

Johnson told the commission he was not prepared to build an 8-foot high fence, and the expense to do so would sink his project. He asked the commission if they would consider granting a variance in the code and allow a 6-foot-high fence instead, which was more reasonable for him.

“It is hard to argue variance with the code,” Carver said. “Once you give it to someone then everyone will be coming in here wanting it.”

Although the commission stood by the code, they saw the points from Johnson and plan to work with him.

“Let us take some time and look at this,” Nielsen said. “I think we are all thinking something less than what the code is saying as of now. Give us some time to look at it and decide what is right for you and the city.”

The commission decided to table Johnson’s request to give the issue more thought. “We are going to take until next month’s meeting to revisit this issue,” Salvesen said. “We will have a public hearing to hear opinions on changing the code, and then the issue will go to the City Council mid-November.”

Johnson grabbed his briefcase and walked out. “I’ll be back,” he said.

In other business, the commission:

  • Amended R-1, R-2, R2-A, C-1, and C-2 zones to reduce the front yard requirement from 100 feet to 90 feet in all major subdivisions.
  • Reduced residential lot size from 12,000 square feet to 10,800 square feet, and reduced the side yard requirement from 8 feet and 12 feet to 8 feet and 10 feet.
  • Repealed the R-4 zone.


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