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Planning commission grants permit for River Heights lawn business

March 18th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Lis Stewart

RIVER HEIGHTS—The status of a local home-based lawn care business and the upkeep in the southwest part of River Heights were on the table at a public hearing Tuesday night.

One of the main concerns of city Planning Commission members was where the vehicles for JV Lawn Care, owned by Juan and Melinda Valdovinos, will be parked. Melinda said they have always parked a truck or two across the street in front of an empty lot, since JV Lawn Care was formed in 2006.

She presented the commission with a letter from Wasatch Properties, which owns the land across the street. “We do not have a problem with JV Lawn Care parking a few vehicles on the west side of the road,” the letter stated.

Residents Bryon Brunson and James Wyatt also spoke at the hearing about concerns over the extra vehicles and people that will be coming and going in the Valdovinos’ neighborhood, since the business is based out of their home at 658 Summerwild Ave.

Wyatt said he does not have a problem with the Valdovinos’ business and that they have always been good neighbors, but the city needs to pay better attention to cleanliness in that part of town. Litter and weeds have gotten out of control, he said, and it is the city’s job to make sure it is maintained. “What are you doing down there?” Wyatt asked commission members. “Are you going to let it be a slum or is it going to continue to be a part of River Heights?”

Wyatt said he figured that this was a good time to bring this issue before the city. Commission chairman Lorin Zollinger agreed this should be brought before the City Council, since the Planning Commission cannot make any final decisions.

Brunson gave the commission a letter from his mother-in-law, who owns a house in the same neighborhood as the Valdovinos. The letter said she was concerned that a conditional use permit would mean bending rules to allow the extra vehicles to park on the street.

Zollinger assured Brunson that a conditional use permit is to ensure that the business is going to continue to operate according to city ordinances, not operate outside of them.

The commission voted unanimously to grant a conditional use permit to JV Lawn Care after hearing comments from the public. The commission set certain conditions: The business may operate no earlier than 7 a.m. and not later than dusk, may have no more than three employees, and no more than a total of five vehicles parked on their property—including the Valdovinos’ personal vehicles.

In other business:

— The commission discussed the Moderate Income Housing Biennial Report. According to Utah code, each city must review its plan for moderate income housing and send a report to the state for review. “Moderate income housing” is housing that is considered affordable, meaning the household income is 80 percent or less than the county’s median income. The occupants also spend 30 percent or less of their income on housing and utilities, commissioner Rob Astle said. The commission decided to table the final report until demographics from the 2010 census are released later this summer.

— City Recorder Sheila Lind passed around a “safe driver pledge” for members of the commission to choose to sign. She said the city gets a better deal on insurance if city employees who drive city vehicles sign it.


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