Ephraim zoning change may help low-income housing shortage
By Lloyd Call
EPHRAIM—As part of Ephraim’s priorities to provide low-income housing, the city council made some zoning changes at a meeting last week.
The council approved an amendment to its general plan land use map and zoning map to change residential-agricultural (RR/A) at approximately 870 S. 100 East to low-density residential (LDR).
Permitting the zoning change may also have a beneficial impact on roads. If the city decided to extend an access road straight west from the canyon road west to U.S. 89, it would go right through this area.
The change in zoning will allow six lots per acre, whereas the previous zoning would only permit three lots per acre. The area is also adjacent to an existing subdivision. The council reported that no negative comments were made during a required public hearing, and voted unanimously in favor of the change.
The council also heard from Utah Rep. Derrin Owens, who represents Sanpete and Juab counties. Owens talked about legislative bills he was promoting, one of which deals with providing low-income housing. Mayor John Scott commented that Ephraim has been struggling to find financing for this kind of housing since the Olene Walker funding was not renewed during the last legislative session. “We were able to build about 50 houses over the last 15 years,” Scott said, “But our housing authority has been handicapped since October because of the funding change.
Mayor Scott also asked Owens to be careful with restructuring “aggressive” taxes during the legislative session. “We have lots of citizens on very fixed incomes, and we don’t want to chase people away because they can’t pay taxes,” he said.
The council also met the new recreation director, Michael Patton, who outlined his proposal for expanding the city’s recreational programs. Patton will be working with Reece Reynolds, who is in charge of the youth recreation programs. The committee is working on developing priority lists.
In other news, Sheriff Aaron Broomhead reported the “Shop with a Cop” was going to be the Saturday, Dec. 7. Children would arrive at McDonalds around 8 a.m., then be ferried in emergency and police vehicles to Walmart, where officers will pair up with kids for their shopping experience.
The city also signed off on closing out the well project contract, with one compromise adjustment with the contractor.
The next council meeting will be Wednesday, Dec. 18, and the council will discuss priorities for the coming year, as well as choosing projects for CDBG grants and working on issues relating to the upcoming bond refinance.