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Nibley rejects request for beautification funds; land is private property

October 9th, 2012 Posted in Opinion

By Danielle Manley

NIBLEY — The picture on a projector screen showed an ugly, weed-ridden piece of land. After much debate the City Council declined the request of money for a beautification project.

The land at the intersection of 3200 South and 1600 West is an eyesore for the Meadow View neighborhood.

Funding a beautification project for this area in Andrea Stokes’ Nibley neighborhood was rejected by the City Council. Photo from Google Maps.



“We’ve been dealing with this for 11 years,” Andrea Stokes said. “My husband and I said how could we fix this? It’s just full of weeds. It’s not appealing. It’s ugly.”

Stokes and her husband have lived in the low-income neighborhood for the past 11 years. The entrance to the city near their home is an eyesore for many area residents, so the couple came up with a landscape plan and asked the city for $945 to complete the beautification project.

“I think it’s a bad idea for us to spend public money on private property,” City Councilman Thayne Mickelson said. “We have to be very careful on how we spend those dollars. This is one of those situation that I wouldn’t be comfortable spending those dollars that way. It becomes an issue of public donors on private property.”

The problem exists because the property is owned by the Mendoza family, even though the fenced off portion includes a sign welcoming citizens to the neighborhood.

“The quandary the city’s in is for us to go in and beautify this — it’s private property,” Mayor Gerald Knight said.

The council expressed concern for the landowner and his say in the matter. Stokes explained that the family does not speak English and she communicated with them through their 7-year-old son.

“The guy has an obligation to the law,” resident Corlyss Drinkard said. “Please don’t tell me no one has talked to this guy because he speaks Spanish. That’s not acceptable.”

The council decided that a dialogue with the landowner was the most important step before authorizing any money for the project. Not only did they recommend a conversation with Mendoza, but they also wanted him to represent himself during another council meeting.

Despite the debate on the project and the landowner, the council later found out that there are a number of steps they need to go through before it can appropriate money for a beautification project.

“The council cannot legally authorize funds today. There are a number of steps to go through before that can happen,” said City Manager David Zook.

With a final recommendation from the council to consult the landowner, Stokes left the meeting empty-handed, but with motivation to finish her project.

“They put a lot back on me that I didn’t know,” said Stokes. “I didn’t know about all the policies, how am I supposed to tell him about the policies? I understand about the private property; we just want it to look nice.”


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