Manti City close to passing

new Main Street ordinance


By Suzanne Dean 




MANTI—The Manti City Council appears to be close to passing an ordinance designed to create a historic commercial zone on Main Street.

The council held a final meeting with business owners last Thursday, Jan. 16 to go over a revised draft incorporating suggestions submitted by owners over the past three months.

The tone was more positive than previous meetings about the proposed ordinance. “I appreciate you listening to us,” John Jensen, owner of Jensen’s Department Store, said. “It’s been approached the right way. I want to say thanks.”

“I think you’ve worked really hard to appease us,” Todd Miller, owner of Miller Auto Body, said. “…I think it’s really good to know what the future holds.”

Mayor Korry Soper told the group, “This council, everything we do, is to try to help you as business owners.” Examples, he said, are the sports park and new industrial area south of the city. “It may not be good enough or fast enough for some of you,” he said, “but we’re trying.”

A few years ago the city hired Urban Planners International, a consulting business operated by Dr. Michael Clay, professor of urban planning at BYU, to help write a new general plan.

In 2018, after the plan was adopted, the city brought Clay back to write some new ordinances implementing some of the goals described in the plan. The drafts were completed and sent to the Manti City Planning and Zoning Commission in early 2019.

One set of ordinances dealt with the commercial area along Main Street, while another set addressed residential development, particularly in recently annexed land. The residential changes have not yet come before the city council for action.

Public meetings were held in September and October of 2019 to review a draft of the commercial ordinance approved the by planning commission. During those meetings, the city council invited business owners to suggest changes to the draft.

In the revised draft reviewed last week, many of the provisions in the earlier planning commission draft remained intact.

      General goals: The revised draft retains language saying the goal of the ordinance is to “preserve the look and feel of the downtown historic area” and defines the historic commercial area for most purposes as Main Street between 200 North and 300 South.

      Design requirements: In the future, the draft ordinance says, the planning commission or city council “may require specific design guidelines,” which “may include but are not limited to architectural controls, color, materials, building mass, innovative design of buildings and any other features deemed appropriate.”

Use of store fronts for housing: The revised draft retains a ban on use of the ground floor of store fronts as residences and says homes in the historic commercial district may not be used for business unless the owner obtains a home-occupation permit.

      Facades: The revised draft also retains a requirement that 50 percent of the facade on new buildings in the historic commercial zone be brick or stone. The original draft said new building facades must be “similar” to existing ones, while in the revised draft, the word “similar” is changed to “complementary.”

But the revised draft presented last week also had several significant modifications from the original planning commission draft.

      Building heights: The original draft only permitted two-story buildings in the commercial area between 200 North and 300 South. The revised draft permits three-story structures.

      Public buildings: Both drafts state that public buildings are exempt from the requirements, but the revised draft has added language stating that the design of public buildings must be approved by the planning commission and city council.

      Parking: The original draft said all parking in the historic commercial zone must be behind or underneath buildings. The parking requirements were taken out of the revised draft.

      Setbacks: Both drafts call for new building fronts to have a zero setback; in other words, to abut the sidewalk. But in the revised draft, the area in which the zero setback applied was pulled back from between 200 North and 300 South to between 100 North and 100 South.

      Gas stations: Likewise, a ban on further gas stations stayed in the revised draft, but the area in which the ban applied was reduced from the 200-North-to-300-South span to 100 North to 100 South.

      Signs: Both drafts banned “strobe-type flashing signs.” But the original draft also banned “flashing, rotating, animated and neon signs.” The revised draft allows those types of signs.

The original draft banned pole signs. The revised draft permits the signs so long as they aren’t higher than 20 feet, don’t exceed 50 square feet in area and are at least 100 feet from any other pole sign.

The original draft banned any permanent sign advertising a business other than the business where the sign was located.

Gerald Christiansen, owner of Big G’s Automotive, asked if the provision would ban an electric billboard with rotating ads for business, such as the one I-Four Media has installed on its property in Ephraim.

Councilwoman Mary Wintch said the key word was “permanent.” The ads on the I-Four sign appear for just a minute or two. She offered to draft some clarifying language, under which a sign with rotating ads could be installed.

One owner who was not happy with the revised ordinance was Linda Nielsen, owner of Manti Mercantile Village.

She noted that there are quite a few pole signs now in the historic commercial zone. City Manager Kent Barton said those signs would be grandfathered in and could remain until the property involved changed hands

“Who is going to be determining the colors and designs, and what are their qualifications,” she wanted to know.

She said she has a master’s degree in design. Addressing the city council, she said, “I don’t want any of you making decisions on what’s going on my building.”

“I really think there are a lot of things in the ordinance that need to be clarified,” she said.

Mayor Soper said the city council could pass the historic commercial zone ordinance as early as the Jan. 29 meeting.

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2020 census is ‘really, really important’


By Robert Stevens 

Managing editor



Our nation only gets one shot every decade to accurately document our population and the 2020 census needs the help of Sanpete residents to make it work.

“This is the single biggest peacetime undertaking by the federal government, ever,” says Coralys Ruiz Jiminez, Utah media coordinator for the 2020 census. “It is really, really important.”

Jiminez says the upcoming census will require counting an increasingly diverse and growing population of around 330 million people in more than 140 million housing units.

The census process is mandated by article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. The data collected by the census determines many important things, such as the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. The census numbers are also used to determine the distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding to local communities like Sanpete.

All U.S. residents are expected to take part in the 2020 census to ensure the final numbers are accurate. To make it easy for everyone, there are several options to participate.

The traditional, mail-in paper questionnaire is still an option, but Jiminez says using the online or phone system not only helps the census bureau save money and time, but also provides a streamlined experience and offers 13 different languages. The mail-in paper questionnaire is available in English and Spanish.

Accommodations for visual and auditory impairment will also be available.

Self-response is encouraged throughout the March 12 – July 31 census period, but households who have not self-responded by May will be placed on a list for visits from door-to-door census enumerators, who will help guide anyone through the census questionnaire process who needs it.

The census offers more to Sanpete residents than just a chance to help out by filling out a questionnaire or online form. Jiminez says the census bureau has hundreds of short-term employment opportunities with a good wage for locals.

According to Jiminez, there is a need for Sanpete County-based census workers for the eight-weeks through May to July. Positions available are enumerators (door-to-door census takers) and supervisors, and will be available based on need.

According to Jiminez, wages range from $16-$20 per hour. Hours needed are broad, so a variety of scheduling options are available.

“This is an opportunity to work for the government during a major peacetime undertaking,” Jiminez says. “After it’s all said and done, it looks great on a resume.”

For more information and to apply for a job with the 2020 census, go to


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Spencer Cox garners $1.2M from more

than 1,500 individual donors


By Robert Green

Staff writer



In his bid to become Utah’s next governor, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox has attracted more individual donors than all other candidates combined, suggesting a large ground-swelling of support for the Sanpete native.

To date, Spencer’s fundraising campaign has raised nearly $1.2 million from 1553 individual donors, said his campaign manager Austin Cox (no relation).

This is by far the highest number of individual donors among all gubernatorial candidates, Austin said.

Spencer’s grassroots support has also put him in second place for total dollars raised for the race. Only candidate Jeff Burningham has raised more money at $1.5 million, said Austin, but he loaned himself $750,000.

“If you subtract personal loans from the candidate to the campaign, the Lt. Governor has raised the most money,” Austin said. “If you include loans, Spencer has raised the second most.”

Rural Utahns, and especially those in Sanpete County, are showing their support in droves. A recent signature gathering campaign to secure Spencer Cox’s name on the ballot in the Republican primary is off to an incredible start, Austin said. There are signature gathering stations throughout the Sanpete Valley.

“Our grassroots fundraising from everyday Utahns shows the incredible support we are earning every day—and the momentum is growing,” Spencer said. “We have many donating to a campaign for the first time; some just $10 and $20. Abby and I promised our campaign would be different and this response has been remarkable.”

Historically, campaigns have relied on a much smaller pool of Utah individuals for funding, Austin said. In 2016 for example, Gov. Gary Herbert listed 500 donors and in 2012 he counted 900 donors.

In total, Spencer raised $1,188,598—not including personal loans or in-kind contributions—in 2019 ($157,300 as Lt. Gov. and $1,031,298 as a gubernatorial candidate) and will carry more than $850,000 into the new year, Austin said.

“While our campaign was announced early in order to visit all 248 Utah cities and towns, we have conserved resources as much as possible,” said Austin. “Our success in 2019 allows us to finish strong in 2020. We know Spencer won’t be the best-funded candidate, but we will have enough to share Spencer’s conservative vision for Utah’s future.”

As of Jan. 10, the Cox campaign had more individual donors by far than any other candidate, Austin said. Jeff Burningham disclosed 359 donors; Winder Newton disclosed 244 donors; and Jon Huntsman disclosed 123 donors.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that campaign disclosures show that Spencer Cox has received some large donations as well. They include a $50,000 donation from the political action committee of Gov. Gary Herbert and $50,000 from Gail Miller, owner of the Utah Jazz and the Larry H. Miller Group.

Gov. Herbert has publically endorsed the Lt. Gov. to succeed him.

People interested in donating to Spencer’s campaign can visit


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