Fountain Green is considering significant changes in zoning

            FOUNTAIN GREEN – The Fountain Green City Council is considering significant revisions to its zoning ordinance, including defining requirements for accessory dwelling units, often referred to as mother-in-law apartments.

            The proposed changes also include rezoning the land where the new city hall is located to “public facilities” and adding a city well site and land along the city creek to the sensitive-lands zone.

            The council discussed the changes at its Oct. 21 meeting. However, a public hearing must be held, and the council must vote, before any of the changes go into effect.

            One of the possible triggers for considering changes is a former proposal to convert the former Management Solutions office building on State Street to a residential facility for adult men.

            The council is looking to define what types of buildings, in what zones, can be used for housing. That includes defining where accessory dwellings can be created.

            Higher housing costs have forced home builders and owners of some existing homes to look at putting in a “mother-in-law apartment” in their homes to help cover those costs. Such units are not to be confused with duplexes or a room to rent in your home.

            The last Utah Legislature passed a law defining what is required in accessory dwellings. The law went into effect Oct. 1. Under the new statute, minimum requirements are a place to prepare food, a place to sleep and a bathroom.

            The council is feeling pressure because it wants to make its own requirements, which are expected to exceed state requirements. But until it does, any accessory dwellings that are established and meet the state standards will be grandfathered in.

            Once the city adopts its own regulations, when someone comes in and applies to establish such a dwelling, the city can have the person sign an affidavit that the city can file with the county, so that if the guidelines aren’t followed, the city has the option of placing a lien on the property.

            Other proposed zoning changes include rezoning the new city hall site, resizing the public facilities zone near the old city building, resizing the public facilities zone near the fish hatchery, rezoning city land at the well site as sensitive lands and extending the sensitive lands zone along the city creek.

            It is also proposed that the city change the definition of the sensitive lands zone to allow childcare in the zone with a conditional use.

            Traffic laws also came up at the Oct. 21 meeting. Resident Lewis Rasmussen asked the council to look at adding a noise ordinance for compression breaks coming through Fountain Green. One day, he said he sat on his front porch, and from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and counted 250 trucks going both directions.

            Rasmussen said that it’s not just the big semi-trucks that are causing all the noise. He said you can’t tell the difference between a semi and a Dodge pickup anymore.  He has spoken with Scott Justesen with UDOT. Justesen told him if the city will pass an ordinance, he can work on getting signs placed.

            With the Ephraim Crossing and the S.R. 132 construction starting, the concern is that traffic through the town will only get worse. The mayor said that the council and city need to start planning ahead so they don’t have serious accidents.

            Councilman Rod Hansen mentioned that it’s not just on State Street where there are traffic issues. He has been driving around the town taking note of inconsistent stop signs, obstructions on corners and more.

            Officer Chad Huff has spent a lot of time working on the traffic problems and will have reports and suggestions at next month’s meeting.

            In the meantime, Mayor Mark Coombs wants to remind residents that the current laws are going to be enforced—there will be no warnings. People need to slow down, stop at stop signs, and hopefully when they see Officer Huff with someone pulled over, “they will think about the laws.”

            Officer Huff joked that he hopes he will still have friends after this.

            Meanwhile, the council voted to change fees charged when animals are impounded. The new fees will help to cover the cost of housing stray dogs and paying people who take care of them while they are in the city’s custody.

            The fees are:

            • $25 pound fee and $10 for each day after for the first offense

            • $35 pound fee and $10 for each day after for the second offense

            • $50 pound fee and $10 for each day after for the third offense

            A dog will be held a minimum of five days, after which the animal can be sold.

            In other discussion, Jeremy Ivory, representing the Lions Club, asked for help with the annual veterans dinner. There are currently 133 and veterans and spouses in Fountain Green who will be invited to the event.

            “I won’t turn any help away,” said Ivory. “I will take anything from a penny to a million dollars.”

            The council asked how much, roughly, each meal would cost and then gave the Lions Club a donation of $675. The money will come from the COVID funds.

            Lastly, Dean Hansen asked that the city put some pressure on the county to clean up a piece of land near his property and close to the DUP monument. He said there are rolls of old wire, and even the oldest men in Fountain Green don’t know where they came from.

            “I haven’t traveled every road in the county, but I have traveled a lot of them,” Hansen said. “And this one looks crappy.”

            He said if his comments were included in the newspaper, he would be “happy as heck.”