residents concerned about proposed Saddleback connecting
March 27, 2009 | SMITHFIELD -- The
City Council held a public hearing Wednesday to amend
the Land Use Map but never came to a vote.
Some local citizens and council members
are afraid of changing zoning laws that could allow
the construction of a new road going from the corner
of 400 West and 400 North to Saddleback Road. The road
would create an alternate route for citizens to drive
through instead of the narrow and congested 300 North,
said City Manager James Gass.
"We need a road that connects
from 400 North and 400 West to Saddleback," said Gass.
Gass also said that he doesn't see
the city building the road.
Councilwoman Kris Monson expressed
concern at this idea. "It worries me that we're putting
in a road with no plans of development," said Monson.
Councilman Dennis Watkins said the
proposed rezoning would be good for the city and prevent
developers from building in the area. "All it does is
protect you," Watkins said.
Citizen Jeff Gittins owns a dairy
farm just off of Saddleback Road and expressed great
concern at the thought of connecting the roads. "I'm
not anxious to have an intersection at the gate of my
dairy," Gittins said. "The way it's drawn, it wouldn't
even serve the purpose that's proposed."
The connecting road wasn't the only
amendment suggested by the Planning Commission to the
council. Currently, the area allows a minimum of a half
acre for one unit. The proposal was to allow a minimum
of two acres for one individual unit, said Gass.
None of the council members voiced
concern over this idea. The area of concern was that
some three-acre lots will change to two-acre lots, Gass
Councilman William "Dee" Wood said
either decision seemed to be bad.
"We're in a situation here
where we're damned if we do and damned if we don't,"
Wood said. "We've got a lot of inner blocks that are
just sitting there growing weed patches. We're cutting
our own throats." He was also worried that the suggested
amendments could allow the city to grow too quickly.
Gass said that the construction of
the road and the changes in acreage wouldn't necessarily
make the city grow quickly and out of control as some
council members thought.
"Most of this makes it less
dense not more dense," Gass said. "In no way does it
bind the city."
There was a bit of confusion about
the plan and how its amendments would affect Gittins'
dairy and the surrounding agricultural areas. Gittins
suggested the council go to the area and look at it
so they'd have a better idea.
"I think it'd help your decision
making to have a field trip," Gittins said.
The plan wouldn't be anything immediate,
said Watkins. It would be a 20-year plan that would
be reviewed every five years.
Gittins was still not in favor of
Mayor Chad Downs said he didn't think
anyone would start a motion in favor of the amendments
as the council was very undecided, but asked if anyone
wanted to motion. None of the council members motioned.
"We'll pull this back and address
it at another date," said Downs.