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Nibley council changes policy on meeting minutes

September 11th, 2009 Posted in Opinion

By Benjamin Wood

NIBLEY — The City Council voted Sept. 3 to amend policy and procedure regarding minutes of public meetings. Measures were also taken regarding animals allowed on residential lots and sections of the Land Use Code.

In a unanimous vote, the three members present approved amendments proposed by Councilman Scott Larsen. The policy changes were aimed at better aligning the Nibley code with the Utah State code regarding minutes of public meetings, Larsen said. Both he and Mayor Gerald Knight also expressed concern with the manner in which minutes are available to the public.

“I would just assume err on the side of being too open,” Knight said.

The changes were mostly grammatical, paragraphs were rearranged and certain phrases were eliminated for the sake of clarity, such as the omission of “take down” in exchange for “record” to compensate for the council’s use of both digital records and written minutes when occasion requires.

“For me a ‘take down’ is a two-points wrestling move,” Larsen said, joking about the vagueness of the old wording.

The council also voted to loosen the time required for the body to approve the meetings, switching the former seven day requirement to the definition used in Utah state code of “a reasonable time,” adding the caveat “but prior to next meeting of the public body.” Councilman Thayne Mickelson commented that defining the period as such allows for flexibility in the event of sickness or some other occurrence
detaining a member of the council.

The meeting involved considerable discussion; the mayor and members of the city council debated the proposed changes for nearly an hour.

“As I’ve stated before,” Larsen said, “I feel minutes are important. They can get us into trouble, or out of trouble.”

One proposed amendment failed to pass. Councilman Shaun Dustin voted against a provision to require the signature of the presiding officer on approved minutes. In most situations that officer would be the mayor, and Knight said that he was in favor of the requirement.

“It gives me something else to do,” Knight said.

“I’ve got a yard that needs some work,” Mickelson joked.

Councilmen Larry Jacobsen and Bryan Hansen were absent during the vote, requiring the unanimous vote of the remaining three members to pass. Hansen arrived later on after the motion to amend the minutes policy was approved by the council.

With Hansen present the council proceeded to analyze regulations on the number and type of animals permitted on lots in the city. Knight said that in the council’s last meeting, new ordinances regarding animal ownership were presented by the planning and zoning commission.

Dustin expressed concern with citizens on smaller areas of land becoming a nuisance to their neighbors.

“The biggest concern that I have about this is the odor,” Dustin said. “I appreciate people’s rights to not enjoy the smell of their neighbors’ animals or the sound of their roosters,” Dustin said.

Many of the council’s concerns on the subject were left to be researched and discussed in further meetings, but Larsen reminded the council that most animal complications, such as manure piles, fall under the limits of the city’s nuisance laws.

Dustin also offered his view on the subject.

“Clean up after them, like you would your dog,” he said.

In a confirming vote, the council restricted the number and species of animals allowed on lots under 18,000 square feet. For a detailed list of specifications and requirements citizens can view the meeting’s minutes at the city offices, located at 625 W. 3200 South.

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