Ephraim approves zoning for higher density housing
Some residents objects to rezoning
next to their single-family areas
By Lloyd Call
EPHRAIM—The city council granted zoning requests from two developers asking to allow higher-density housing on their land.
The council balanced requests from two developers asking for zoning changes for two parcels from R1 (residential) to R3 and R4 (duplexes and four-plexes) with pleas from adjacent single-home families wanting similar homes in the neighborhood.
The council eventually granted both requests, from Antonio Jiminez and James Boud. Jiminez’s parcel will change from R1 to R3 (allowing duplexes and no higher than 2-story four-plexes), and James Boud’s parcel that will change from R1 to R4 (allowing apartments). The planning and zoning committee recommended both changes.
The council listened to Jiminez, who shared his specific plans for his parcel, and his willingness to work with and cooperate with adjacent homeowners, including building a small park for the neighborhood’s use. “We have lived here a long time, and have Ephraim’s best interests in mind. We don’t plan on going anywhere,” Jiminez told the council. Councilman Tyson Alder also said he had known Jiminez for years, and affirmed he could be trusted.
Adjacent homeowners spoke, including Jeremy Howell, who was concerned with having high-rise apartments across the street from existing R1 parcels. “We would probably be OK with R2 zoning [duplexes], but we are a little “iffy” about R3,” he said, speaking for other homeowners as well.
After listening to both sides, the council approved both the Jiminez request, and also a request from Boud for apartment zoning. Boud’s parcel is adjacent to existing apartments.
Bryan Kimball, Ephraim’s community development coordinator told the council, “We have other similar requests in the works,” meaning more zoning change requests will continue to arise as Ephraim grows.
The council also appointed Cory Daniels, Ephraim’s power department director, to represent the city as its UAMPS (Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems) representative.
Daniels also presented an extensive report on Ephraim’s power. “We do our best to eliminate power outages for the city. We have three substations and nine circuits, so if we get a circuit that breaks in one area, we can quickly route power around the break and resume power for all the city.”
Interestingly, many of the outages have been caused by birds, either flying into transformers, or in the case of starlings, pecking at fuses to get at insects. The city has put up bird guards around the transformers to control the problem.
Kimball also presented the city’s annual report on the city’s wastewater planning program. “Our sewer system is in very good shape, both for current and future expansion,” he said, but added a caution: “Our biggest problem continues to be clogs from people flushing ‘flushable wipes’ down their toilets. The packaging may say it’s OK, but it isn’t! The wipes clog up the filters and have to be cleaned out constantly.”
Police Chief Aaron Bloomhead reported that Ephraim’s fire department safety rating went from 5.0x to 4.0x, which means equipment, personnel, training, and availability of water has made Ephraim safer. “This means you can ask your insurance agents to lower your rates,” he said.
The council also approved a request from the Ephraim-Manti Airport board to appoint Tom Herbert of Spring City to the board, replacing Jeremy Howell. “Now that Ephraim and Manti have the only airport in the county, we want to have broader representation than just Ephraim and Manti on the board,” councilman Richard Wheeler said.
“Our airport does need to expand, and eventually we will need a longer runway, probably to the south of the current runway. The FFA is currently offering to pay about 95-percent of the costs, leaving the board responsible for only 5-percent of the cost,” Wheeler said.
The council approved having Memorial Day services, as long as citizens wear masks and follow social distancing COVID-19 guidelines.
Recreation director Michael Patton reported that the city has received a $50,000 grant toward the proposed all-abilities park. “The entire project will cost about $240,000, so we still have a long ways to go, but it’s encouraging to make a beginning,” he said.
Finally, the council is bidding farewell to councilman Greg Boothe, who is moving to Mapleton at the end of this month. Mayor Scott said, “We join Ephraim in thanking Boothe for his three year service on the council. We will miss him, and wish him well.” Boothe served many years on the Scandinavian Heritage Festival committee.
There will be a special council meeting on Feb. 10 where a replacement will be chosen from submitted candidates.