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January 13, 2009

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--Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, 2008 (Thanks to alert WORDster Ross Martin)

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Nibley says no more 'monstrosities next door'

By Aubreyann Hansen

December 10, 2008 | NIBLEY -- What would you do if your neighbor built an addition to their house that is bigger than your house?

Scott Mikesell, Nibley resident, attended three city council meetings this fall to talk with Council and Mayor Gerald Knight about the "monstrosity going up next door" to him. Mikesell said he is unhappy with the city for not having a strict enough code to prevent his neighbors, the Falslev family, from building the addition to their house that some say is bigger than the actual house.

Shari Phippen, Planning and Zoning administrator for Nibley, said when the Falslevs built there was no formal ordinance regarding accessory buildings.

Since there was not an accessory building ordinance, the Falslevs built their addition as a private garage. There was an ordinance specifying regulations for private garages which stated the garage is an area that holds motor vehicles but cannot be used for business or profit and shall be structurally connected. The Falslevs addition fits these standards.

The Falslevs built a garage and family room in the new addition to their house. Falslev is engaged and his fiancée, Holly Lewis, said they need the space for vehicles, family and toys.

"We're getting married and starting a family. We need more room," Lewis said. "We're also sick of scraping our windows in the winter."

According to Kris Falslev, the new addition is approximately 70 feet long, 42 feet wide and slightly over 17 feet tall.

Mikesell said he bought his property for the view of the mountains and Falslev's addition blocks part of that view.

Some neighbors said the addition appears twice the size of the house. However, the Falslev's addition is in compliance with city ordinances.

Since the time the Falslev's started building Nibley has created an Accessory Building Ordinance. The new ordinance clearly defines accessory buildings as a building that is detached from the first building, clearly for supplemental use to the principal building, and not intended for human habitation. Buildings that qualify under those standards must meet zoning setbacks and regulations.

The ordinance also lists other structures that could be confused as an accessory building and sorts them into categories and defines the regulations on each category.

"I know there is nothing I can do but be neighborly," Mikesell said.

Mikesell said his main concern was having the city change the ordinance so other people in Nibley will not have the same problem.

"The new ordinance repealed [the old] definition and clarified what constitutes an attached building and what constitutes an accessory building," Phippen said. "The Falslevs would not be able to build their addition according to the new ordinance."

The new ordinance is the one currently enforced in Nibley city. However, this ordinance allows buildings and structures existing when the ordinance passed, like the Falslevs, to be grandfathered and non-conforming.

The ordinance was signed off by the mayor after the majority of Nibley's City Council voted to pass the ordinance. The ordinance was passed in late July, before Mikesell ever showed up to council. The council assured Mikesell the zoning laws are now more specific and limited so this situation will not appear in Nibley again.

"All I'm asking is don't let this happen again in Nibley," Mikesell asked Mayor Knight.

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