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Nibley council bumps heads over growth issues

October 9th, 2010 Posted in Opinion

By Max Parker Dahl

NIBLEY–After a prayer, Nibley City Council convened for city business that will determine the future look and feel of the community. A continuing struggle was wrought throughout the meeting over land and money use for the rapidly expanding city.

Preliminary plans to construct a new city hall began the evening, with a parameters resolution authorizing up to $850,000 in lease revenue bonds to be sold for the purpose of construction. The resolution passed 3-2, with dissenting votes from councilmen Scott Larsen and Shawn Dustin.

“I just don’t think that a new city hall is the best expenditure that could be made for the city,” Larsen said.

Renderings were presented for the exterior of the new building, and with a few aesthetic suggestions Councilman Thayne Mickelson said, “I think we are headed in a great direction with this project”.

With the current renovations being completed in downtown Logan, especially in recent years to local government buildings, Nibley is weighing in on how much progressive change needs to take place in the rural community.

A public hearing was opened to hear opinion on a planned unit development expansion for residents 55 and older. The Mountain View Villas development was previously approved by the council, and is the third proposed senior community in the area, mirroring the previously completed Sunset Park complex at 1000 W. 2770 South.

Councilman Larsen emphasized that the Sunset Park community is only half occupied, and only two sales have been finalized since 2008.

Residents of the Sunset Park community were represented by a dozen residents who voiced their opinions, but requested specifically to retain anonymity. “Sunset Park community is the best thing since chocolate ice cream for guys like us,” one man said.

“We’re old, but we’re still living. We do things and try to keep young. Just because we’re old, doesn’t mean you should put us out to pasture,” said another resident. “Senior communities are beyond capacity in Smithfield and outside of Logan, so don’t tell me there isn’t a demand. I haven’t seen advertising to bring people in to Sunset Park.”

Councilman Larsen said, “If demand is still there, why haven’t the additional lots sold in 2 ½ years? I’m not in favor of doing this right now. It is not the best option for our community. It is my recommendation that we do not move forward with this PUD.”

Neighbor Phillip Arnoldson said, “There is a tight-knitness between them. They are always doing stuff together–going on walks, activities—which I think is awesome.”

The council voted in favor of the development, with an amendment that the developer would be within the original agreement in which the preliminary motion was passed in 2008. Larsen and Mickelson voted against it.

A concept plan for another planned unit development was presented, also tentatively named Mountain View. The plan, presented by Kim Datwyler, included 86 lots and 3.45 acres of open space between 1100 and 1200 West on 2600 South. The Neighborhood Nonprofit Housing project would require a zoning change from agricultural to residential, which conflicts directly with the city’s general plan for land usage after this change. The general plan calls for the “clustering of homes to maximize open space, preserve Nibley’s rural character, and reduce the cost of providing services to Nibley’s citizens.”

Discussion turned toward the incorporation of a “conservation subdivision,” which would increase clustering homes, providing more lots, as well as increase open space to 35 percent of the development. Specific suggestions could not be recommended, but an important area stressed for conservation was a pathway parallel to the canal.

“The best thing that could happen to Nibley would be in retaining that open walking path,” said Councilman Shaun Dustin. “I really think it’s a great thing.”

Councilman Larry Jacobsen was most concerned about abiding by the general plan’s clear parameters for rezoned land usage. “Either we stick to the verbiage in the city’s general plan and utilize conservation subdivisions, or we completely ignore it like we did for the Scheiss road. If the general plan isn’t going to be completely binding, we need to consider revising the general plan.”

The proposed motion passed with dissenting votes from Jacobsen and Larsen.


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