P&Z deals with anonymous hate mail, closed design meetings
By Dave Mehr
September 20, 2006 | PROVIDENCE -- Several important
items were on the agenda for Tuesday's Planning Commission
meeting in Providence, but aside from these, Chairman
Blaine Sorenson expressed concern about an anonymous
letter he received recently.
"I did receive mail from a person who chose not to
include their name," Sorenson said. "That's the first
one of these letters I've ever received."
Sorenson read the following excerpt from the letter
at the meeting, wondering whether the writer was present
at the meeting: "Mr. Sorenson, why in the hell don't
you go back to California . . . they have everything
you seem to want there."
While on the subject of letters, Sorenson requested
that all letters be sent to the city office.
Commission members also discussed a 60-day approval
process concerning plat procedures and requirements,
which led several members to question when the 60-day
approval actually begins.
"We're clear that it starts when we first see it,"
Commissioner Jim Beazer also commented on the approval
process, saying, "Sixty days is ample time for most
Representatives from America First Credit Union were
also present at the meeting, awaiting site approval
of a new branch in Providence at 544 West 100 North,
by the new Macey's supermarket. Conditions for the approval
were the removal of a light pole as well as the placing
of "exit-only" signs where necessary. There are also
plans for a teller and loan station inside of Macey's.
The motion to approve America First's request was passed.
"It's going to be a good looking building," Beazer
Attorney D. Rand Henderson, from Henderson Law Offices
in Logan, made several comments during Tuesday's meeting.
Henderson stated his opinion regarding public records
and the availability of information prior to city meetings.
Many of the items discussed at planning commission meetings
are first presented at a meeting with the design review
commission. Mayor Randy Simmons, who was also at the
meeting, confirmed that these meetings are closed to
"Just to let you know, I have a problem with that,"
said Beazer. "I don't think that sends the right message."
"I disagree with the mayor," said Henderson. "The
minutes are public records."
Although no motion was made to open design review
commission meetings to the public, planning commission
members agreed that information such as agendas and
city bylaws should be released sooner.
Commissioner Jon Mock said, "The main thing is to
allow everyone to have enough time to consider the items."
Also, a motion was made to allow speaker-phone communication
at commission meetings. According to the city code,
everything communicated among commission members must
be heard or seen by those present at meetings. "Sometimes
it's just not feasable to be here," Sorenson said.
Mayor Simmons told commission members that he's become
aware of a few questions citizens have been having lately,
one relating to the landscaping of parking strips. "There's
a lot of people that would like that issue revisited,"
The city of Providence uses its staff to identify
problems such as weeds or areas where gravel and rocks
come onto the streets. The city is also using the fire
department, as well as the health and sheriff's offices
to help resolve such concerns.