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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)

River Heights P&Z stumped on splitting flag lots

By Clay Moffitt

December 13, 2006 | RIVER HEIGHTS -- Tony Nielson stumped the Planning and Zoning Commission last week on whether a flag lot can be divided, but that's OK, he still wouldn't be able to build on the lots right away. Nielson plans on building two homes to be sold on the lots if the division is approved, but with the frigid December temperatures, he can't do much until it warms up.

"I was going to have the road paved, but I can't do that until spring anyway," Nielson said.

The commission members thumbed through the zoning ordinances, searching for anywhere that might mention flag lots.

Realizing the group might be looking in vain, Commissioner Drew Herseth asked, "Are we going to find out if a flag lot can be divided?"

The commission conceded it really wasn't sure, and Commissioner Gladys Ann Atwood agreed to contact the Utah League of Cities and Towns to verify if it complied with the zoning laws.

The commission said part of the confusion is because a lot that is a lot longer than wide is designated as a flag lot and are not sure if that designation can be changed.

"We need to have more information about this," Commissioner Carolyn Bentley concluded.

Even if the commission determines the lot can be divided, there were a few other zoning ordinances the group expressed concern with the lot. For example, all points on the property need to be within at least 450 feet of a fire hydrant. Also according to the ordinance, "each lot must abut with a city maintained street."

The commission members also conceded they wished former commission member Blake Wright were still on the commission, being the individual most familiar with the zoning documentation. To which Nielson informed the group he is a long-time acquaintance of Wright and consulted with him in regards to the lot.

"If it counts for anything, I talked to him (Wright) before I even bought the lot," Nielson said while the group was looking through the ordinance books.

Nielson agreed to measure the distance from the nearest fire hydrant and email the group at his findings. And the commission agreed to check with the Utah League and receive confirmation before the next commission meeting, which will be held on Jan. 2.


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