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NUTHIN' UP MY SLEEVE!: A cow moose rests Tuesday in 3 feet of snow beside the Logan River just west of Tony Grove. / Photo by Mike Sweeney

Today's word on journalism

Friday, March 10, 2006

Help Wanted: U.S. Defense Department Seeks Better PR Officers

"Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but . . . our country has not adapted. For the most part, the U.S. government still functions as a 'five and dime' store in an eBay world."

--U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on why al Qaeda is winning hearts and minds, in speech to U.S. Council on Foreign Relation (Thanks to alert WORDster Mark Larson) WORD Note: The WORD will take the next week off for Spring Break, sleeping in and seeking wisdom. Return: 3/20/06

Hyde Park planning commission recommends property rezone to residential

By Brad Plothow

February 3, 2006 | HYDE PARK – The city Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve residential zoning for a segment of land near 100 West and 600 South streets, but the vote was contingent on an agreement for how water and sewer would be financed.

"Personally, I feel like it's fine for it to be rezoned as long as there's an agreement," Commissioner David James said.

Prior to the 4-0 vote, James suggested that the Commission could pay for the infrastructure extension if it could recoup the money in the future. James said the City Council, which detailed its budget in a meeting last week, didn't have any provisions for such a project.

Bill Bertolio – a representative from Horizon Enterprises, Inc., which was contracted to develop the land – agreed with the commission's motion to move ahead pending the funding agreement.

"That way you won't get the cart before the horse, but it gives us something to work with," said Bertolio, who later apologized for how his firm handled past projects. "If you're ready to give us the go-ahead, we'll begin working on a concept."

Discussion on the rezoning request lasted for about 45 minutes, as commissioners hashed out their concerns about developing the property.

Commissioner Jan Hale agreed that a funding contract needed to precede any actions to build infrastructure or develop the land.

"I don't like surprises anymore than anyone else," she said. "I think we need to have a clear idea beforehand."

James was concerned with designating where the funding would come from, as well as how much the Commission or city would be willing to pay contractors.

"That's the rules. We don't continue negotiating back and forth on who owes what," James said. "I don't believe from this side of the desk that it's the city's job to fork out whatever amount of money a developer wants."

James also wanted to have a road near the proposed development widened, because "it's a known safety hazard."

"If you drive two big pickup trucks, you wonder if you're going to make it past," James said. "Something's got to be done with that road."

Bertolio spent several minutes apologizing to the commission for what he called "miscommunications" in past projects handled by Horizon, but he didn't elaborate.

"There were some problems in the last project we did, and I take my share of the responsibility for that," Bertolio said. "I apologize for anyone's feelings I hurt. Please don't hold judgment on me for the past."


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