Monday, December 19, 2005

Wasatch City II

Rural or City - which will it be?

In the immortal, paraphrased, words of Chicken Little: "The valley is filling, the valley is filling." Yes, I understand, that warning was false - but, this one can be observed.

Last Wednesday an ad hoc committee presentation was made to the County Council proposing a possible solution to the problems described in the development Moratorium - "unprecedented growth pressure . . . (loss of) rural atmosphere, open space and agricultural feel . . . protect(ion) of this valuable asset." The slide show is available on line. (Large file- long download - self executable)

After an explanation of the current situation, the ad hoc citizen committee proposed to modify all RA-1 (one acre per house) zones to RA- 5 (five acres per house). After dong that, create a citizen Land Use Committee to discuss further plans, in a deliberate and thoughtful manner, for accomplishing the goals of the 2001 General Plan and the desire of Wasatch County residents.

Some of the goals of the citizens’ Committee of 100 were clearly defined and described in the General Plan:
"Preserve the rural Character of Wasatch County"
"Preserve the present air quality of the county"
"Develop land use policies that encourage open space"

A further goal: "Due to the rapid growth that is taking place in the County, the land use portion of this plan shall be reviewed at least every five years to determine if the land use policies are being adhered to and changing conditions are being addressed" also needs to be fulfilled. By law, a moratorium can not be extended beyond its six month limit and enacting passage of Land Use regulations requires a minimum of two months, with required public notice, meetings, etc.

On Thursday of last week, a plan was introduced at the Planning Commission to attempt to resolve the RA-1 moratorium by effectively changing ONE acre zoning to one-half acre zoning, in clusters, and leaving open "green belts" on half the property. This proposal, with or without modification, will be submitted to the Planning Commission on the 19th of January. Public Notice will need to be given in the Wave on the fourth of January to conform with the legal notice law. An approval/disapproval decision will then be made by PC and forwarded to the Council for consideration and passage. The moratorium expires February 23rd.

The moratorium ordinance (#05-11) states, "regulations in the RA-1 zone are currently inadequate to protect (our) valuable assets." I heartily agree, and submit to all of you that the current cluster proposal will also be inadequate.

More information may be found at http://wasatch.blogspot.com/ If you have an idea or opinion on this issue, contact your Council Representatives, or the planning staff, or Commissioners. Please join wasco-subscribe@yahoogroups.com for a discussion on Growth in Wasatch County. Currently, anyone may join; Emails sent to the group will be sent to everyone who joins.

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