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a silent salute: The audience "claps" at Joke Night during Deaf Awareness week. Click Arts&Life for a link to story. / Photo by Leah Lopshire

Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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Nibley P&Z considers changes to building code

By Aubreyann Hansen

November 16, 2008 | NIBLEY -- Planning and Zoning Commission discussed updating and approving the design standards for commercial and institutional use so new buildings have a code to follow.

Zoning Administrator Shari Phippen said she noticed that as of now there is no code for the engineering of design standards for buildings in industrial or commercial areas as located on the land use chart. However the city has a booklet to guide developers, architects and engineers. Phippen is asking the commission to review the information and suggest changes to make the guidelines better and bring the suggestions to the next meeting, which is not until Dec. 10.

"If it is not code, how do we enforce it?" Commissioner Aaron Bliesner asked.

The guidelines would not be written into the code. Bliesner is concerned if the standards are not part of code that anyone can come to the city office and change the requirements, as well as the city having no power to enforce the regulations.

Commission members said there is a way to require the changes go through city staff and council or commission members before officially being changed. This can be done by writing an ordinance that says standards referred to in other portions of the code must go through approval before being changed, Commissioner Wayne Anderson said.

The commission talked about the importance of having the standards as official code to keep the community looking nice. Having the standards "codified" insures the code is properly changed and enforced, as Bliesner said using his finger quotes. They soon were referring to places in Salt Lake City that would be better if there were design and engineering standards enforced.

Phippen said, "If there is some change to an isolated part, that can be [changed], approved and switched out without recoding the whole thing."

Anderson said he is concerned the code will become too invasive.

"It's not our job to tell people they can or can't dig up a tree on their property," Anderson said. "There are requirements [planning and zoning] want but is it our right to dictate that?"

After small discussion Anderson said the commission can make suggestions toward what they want but what they want should not be part of the city's code.

The commissioners took the current recommended standards and promised to look them over and bring recommendations for changes to the next meeting.

Anderson said some items are redundant and the standards for the code should be cleaned up before being official.

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