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Wellsville approves updates to its general plan

February 13th, 2010 Posted in Opinion

By Kayla Woodring

WELLSVILLE–Several proposed revisions and updates to the Wellsville General Plan were approved Wednesday night at the Wellsville Planning Commission meeting.

City official Jay Nielson said the plan hadn’t been updated for awhile and that doing so was necessary in order to have a plan that would best serve the needs of the city. Nielson drafted the majority of the changes to the plan and has been occupied with the task for some time.

“The last time this plan was updated was in 2005 and this revision has been in the works for about a year and a half,” Nielson said. “I will go through every item that is to be changed with you before you approve the new plan.”

Included in the changes were updates on the projected population growth for the city, the addition of images depicting the ideal standards for the city, several grammatical and editorial corrections, guidelines for industrial zoning, historical and heritage information as well as an update on the status of the real estate market.

The section on pricing in the real estate market raised some concern for Commissioner Russell Glenn.
“Based on the way this is written, it seems like we don’t have any places left for affordable housing in Wellsville,” Glenn said.

Nielson said it wasn’t a mistake that the information implied that. He said it appears that way is because there really isn’t any affordable housing left in the city.

After reviewing all of the changes to the General Plan, the commission voted unanimously to adopt the new edition. Several members of the commission said they were appreciative of Nielson’s dedication of time and efforts to review the plan.

“Jay, I really think you did a great job. The new plan looks great,” Commissioner Jaye Colling said.

City Manager Don Hartle also said he was grateful for Nielson’s service.

“I really give Jay a lot of credit and commend him for the job he’s done,” Hartle said. “Unless you’ve put a city code together, you can’t know how hard it is and how much work went into this.”

In addition to adopting a new edition of the General Plan, the commission also held public hearings for several individuals seeking permits for Level One Home Occupation Business Permits.

The commission heard from Virginia Gilbert, Ryan Higbee and Dean Parker. All stood before the commission and gave a brief explanation of their proposed businesses and plans for establishing them.

Virginia Gilbert, a registered nurse, sought a conditional use permit to operate her education-based business, the Responsible Living Foundation, in her home.

“The goal of my business is to promote stress management and educate people about physical relaxation techniques,” Gilbert said. “I’ve done a lot of writing that will also be a part of the business, including some books and Internet writing.”

Ryan Higbee intends to open a business called Foot Zone Therapy at his home. The business will be open four days per week and Higbee intends to see two clients per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

The commission questioned Higbee about a dome structure he built on his property that he had previously sought a permit for. Some of the conditions required by the permit for construction of the dome structure had not been entirely fulfilled. Higbee had agreed to stucco the outside of the structure as well as landscape the surrounding. He has not yet met these conditions and many of the commissioners were wary of granting him a new permit because of his failure to comply in the past.

“Obviously you haven’t completed the conditions we gave you for that permit and maybe we should consider that before we grant this new permit,” Commissioner Glenn said.

Higbee said financial circumstances had prohibited him from doing fulfilling the conditions at the time but that he will work to fulfill them now.

“I believe I can complete them by May assuming the weather is cooperative,” Higbee said.
The commission decided to give Higbee a permit for his new business provided he complied with the previous conditions and completed them by summer. The commission said if he failed to meet with the conditions by then, his business zoning permit would be revoked.

“I want you to understand that it’s not that this license can be revoked, but that it will be,” Commission Chair Loyal Green said. “We want you to follow through with the other requirements. We just want it landscaped so it looks nice. It’s not a big enough project to require a lot of detail.”

Dean Parker sought a permit for the establishment of a business in one of the sheds on his property where he intends to repair rifles. He works with the state of Utah and fixes many of the guns they use for the Hunter Education Program.

“When I go down to the state office, I pick up the broken ones and I come back with fixed ones,” Parker said.
The commission and citizen, Kathy Merrill, questioned Parker about the safety of his facility. They asked if his shed would be a secure area for the storing of rifles that children would be unable to access.

Parker said his shed always remains locked so no one can get in to access the firearms.


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