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
"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
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
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,"
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