HNC Home Page
News Business Arts & Life Sports Opinion Calendar Archive About Us
ASKING THE EXPERTS: Playground designer Barry Segal gets ideas from River Heights students about a playground to honor Ryan Adams. Click Arts&Life for link to story. / Photo by Mikaylie Kartchner

Today's word on journalism

Monday, January 29, 2007

Words as weapons:

"When he had a pen in his hand it was like giving a kid a machine gun."

--Peter Hall, theater director, on "Angry Young Man" playwright John Osborne (1929-1994)

Paradise development study recommends zoning changes to restrict building, preserve quality

By Rebekah Bradway

December 12, 2006 | PARADISE -- As home, land and estate values rise and more people build in Cache County, potential impacts may be deterioration of air and water quality, loss of wildlife habitat and other landscape issues.

"Things are changing pretty rapidly. We just need to realize that," Paradise Town Councilwoman Margaret Obray said in a council meeting.

Six third-year graduate students in USU's department of landscape architecture and environmental planning, under the direction of Professor Peter Kumble, researched the potential impacts and suggested recommendations in their executive summary in early December.

"The idea here is that what we find in Southern Cache County can be applied in other places," student Craig Houston said.

The team gave an ecological analysis, saying, "Codes [and] spotty enforcement foster ecologically damaging land uses," and there is no specific county plan to coordinate protection of wildlife.

"We want to have this upland mitigation methodology where we can develop on previously disturbed land," student Bridget Atkin said. Upland areas include grassland and shrub land, she said, which was the majority of their study area.

The team said changing county zoning codes regarding natural hazards to more adequately protect the public health, safety and welfare could be beneficial to the communities and ecological systems. Their recommendations include expanding building restrictions in several ways: prohibiting development in floodplains, keeping utilities from crossing fault lines and prohibiting septic systems over standing high water tables and seasonal high water tables.

In surveying residents of Paradise and Avon, two Southern Cache County towns directly affected by expansions in their areas, the students found that "values expressed for value of life were related ecologically," student Alissa Salmore said, meaning the better the ecology, the greater the value of life.

"Agriculture is historically very important in Cache County," Houston said.

Teneza Urbanova spoke of five positive values of the southern area of the county, saying they should be preserved. She listed high visual and aesthetic values, rich natural values, harmonic scale, traditional agriculture and unique landscape character.

Critical areas of development include elevations between high mountain ranges and the lowest part of the valley, which are attractive for visibility. But as more people build on these areas, they destroy the natural landscape.

Saadia Ahmed said in order to prevent this destruction, people should only build in the lowland areas rather than in the benches.

"Each individual project should be assessed individually," Urbanova said.

The team suggested building where there are existing communities. They said architectural character of the development should also be considered.

"Development of new roads should be minimized as much as they can be," Ahmed said.

And in order to "maintain the traditional character, natural, local materials should be used with respect to the site," the team agreed.

"People should combine new technology with the style of the area," Ahmed said. She said when building, builders should use colors that are "not strongly contrasting to the site."

The team said although Paradise is highly affected by these issues, it is not the only place that is.

"We're starting at the headwaters though," Kumble said.


Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
Best viewed 800 x 600.