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Today's word on journalism

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Paranoia means having all the facts."

--William S. Burroughs, Beat Generation writer (1914-1997)

Smithfield P&Z approves rezone despite neighbors' objections

By Tracy L. Lund

September 22, 2006 | SMITHFIELD -- Despite complaints from several residents, a request to rezone property in southwest Smithfield passed after much debate by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The property, located at 287 South 300 West, is currently zoned Residential Agricultural-1 acre. David R. Lillywhite requested that the property be rezoned as Single Family Residential-12,000 sq. ft., in order to create three new building lots for homes.

Residents of this Smithfield neighborhood expressed their concerns at the meeting. Ron Nielson, whose home borders the property, came to this meeting to find out what his rights were in regard to speaking out against the rezone.

"What rights do I have as a property owner?" Nielson said. "I want to know what my boundaries are." Nielson said he would like to keep horses on his one-acre lot as well as keep a yard where his kids can play.

"I don't want three houses squeezed between me and the corner," he said. "I wouldn't mind one home, but I am opposed to something bigger."

Lillywhite argued that rezoning the property and tearing down some of the old outbuildings would clean up the area, making it look nicer.

Another opponent of the rezone, George Downs, has lived in the area for 20 years. "I would like to see it cleaned up," Downs said, "but not at the expense of other homeowners."

After the meeting was closed to the public the commission debated the rezone. Commissioner Ed Lawlor wondered if the landowners would feel better if the lots were zoned to 20,000 square feet each, so instead of three new homes there would only be two.

Chairman Clark C. Draper said the city will eventually have to rezone to greater density anyway. "We made it part of the general plan. We can't just change our minds because it's happened sooner than we thought it would."

Commissioner David Price made a motion to deny the rezone but it died for lack of a second. Commissioner Rik Vernon then made a motion to approve the rezone, which was seconded by Commissioner Barbara Kent. The motion was passed by a 5-1 vote, with Price dissenting.

Draper said the City Council will have the final vote on whether to rezone. The planning and zoning commission can only make a recommendation to the council.


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