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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)

Hollow Road property owner disputes Nibley's sewer requirements

By Jacob Fullmer

September 25, 2006 NIBLEY -- One Nibley resident objects to the measures the City Council is taking to protect the area's drinking water.

Nathan Zollinger, a longterm Nibley resident, has been trying to build his home up Hollow Road near the Blacksmith Fork River for over a year and has been "pretty patient" with the legal process. He'd like to begin building his house as soon as possible, even if that means taking the city to court.

"I feel like Nibley city is constantly squinting at things that don't matter," Zollinger said.

Zollinger's land sits at 695 W. 1700 South. The city denied his request for a building permit when he first started his project because the lot rests in a flood plain. So Zollinger built up the ground level. Now the city is concerned with Zollinger's ability to properly dispose of sewage.

City ordinance requires anyone within 300 feet of a sewer line to hook into the city's sewer system. Zollinger's land is outside the radius which would obligate him to connect to the system now, but the city foresees growth going that direction. Zollinger knows he will be legally required to hook up to Nibley's sewer line when the pipe reaches him but would rather save money by installing his own septic system now.

To complicate the matter, Zollinger's land sits in a water source protection zone -- a zone which deems septic tanks a potential threat to the area's drinking water. According to Zollinger, his land is three-fourths of one mile "as the crow flies" from the city's well.

Councilman Thayne Mickelson explained, "We have an obligation to the citizens who live here and those who are coming here."

Mickelson also said the city must consider the cost of taking a sewer line within 300 feet of Zollinger's property on the hope city growth will continue in that same direction. If the growth stops, the investment may never earn back the money spent. If the city officially denies the building permit request, Zollinger could take the city to court to obtain his desired property rights. The possible court costs, Mickelson says, could be equal to or greater than the appropriate action now.

City Manager Larry Anhder recommended the council grant the building permit but also warned against the challenge of reversing water contamination. In a phone conversation on Friday afternoon, Anhder was told by the Utah Division of Drinking Water the risk of contamination appeared minimal.

The council tabled the item until additional information about the risks involved can be obtained.


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