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Nibley council approves conservation subdivision, sets rezone hearing

October 23rd, 2010 Posted in Opinion

By Max Dahl

NIBLEY—Council members discussed how to preserve Nibley’s open and rural charm while accommodating expansion of subdivisions and city parks.

Neighborhood Nonprofit Housing Corp. made another appearance before the council with a revised set of plans for their proposed conservation subdivision along 1200 West, which were reviewed by council members. Potential benefits of the subdivision were discussed.

A disconnect due to syntactical verbiage had both parties erroneously excited, but once detected, the compromise that had been reached had to be abandoned and discussion resumed.

Councilman Larry Jacobsen Mayor pointed out that the property is still agriculturally zoned. “That’s the really important step, to get it rezoned,” he said. “The question is does it fit the plan? Once rezone is accomplished – or even before – if it fits the city plan, then it’s a go.”

Ultimately, Mayor Gerald Knight inquired about the proposed plans fitting into the “conservation subdivision” stipulations outlined in the city’s general plan, which would cost the developers at least eight lots. The Nibley City General Plan states that conservation subdivisions were to be established to preserve the rural nature of lands that were deemed valuable to the community.

“You’re asking for a crystal ball,” said Kim Datwyler, representing Neighborhood Nonprofit Housing corp, “there isn’t much margin for error with this project.” The subdivision would serve first-time homeowners and is designed to be affordable. With possible tax increases, prices could be raised from $130,000 to $160,000.

Councilman Thayne Mickelson stepped in as mediator and champion for the original plan proposed and voted on Oct. 7. “I thought the benefit for the conservation subdivision was to gain density. We’re driving costs up for the people we’re trying to serve with this subdivision,” Mickelson said. “I’m still in favor of the original.”

Councilman Shaun Dustin moved to accept the second proposed conservation subdivision with a waiver for the minimum average lot size, average lot size and frontage width in spite of the stipulations in the general plan, which were quite nearly complied with. Councilmen Dustin, Jacobsen and Bryan Hansen were in favor, Mickelson opposed and maintained his support of the original plan.

Rezoning and preliminary hearing will be presented before the zoning commission Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.

Presentations were also made for the Nibley City Parks Plan and the plans for a community garden at the Morgan Farm, located south of Elkhorn Park.

The council discussed a 50-acre sports complex to accommodate the rapidly growing number of city sponsored athletics that resident children are being registered for. Questions were raised about the appropriation of funds towards a new sports complex, and the availability of non-programmed space at the complex other than officiated team sports.

Mayor Knight proposed to the council to “bring a paragraph or two” explaining their issues and arguments for or against the proposed complex for the public hearing that will be held Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.

Councilman Hansen presented the idea of a communal garden at the Morgan farm as potential use for the city-owned land. Taun Beddes of USU Extension for horticulture was on hand to answer questions about feasibility. St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Hyde Park has property being used for a community garden and was the precedent cited for the success of such a garden. Plans for future use include space for 4-H Junior Master Gardeners, a greenhouse, classes for basic gardening and pruning as well as fruit trees.

Hansen proposed the motion saying, “the population used to grow everything that they ate.” Mickelson seconded, “I think we just scratched the surface,” he said.

Supporting votes came from council members Dustin, Jacobsen, Hansen, and Mickelson while Councilman Scott Larsen opposed.


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