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Carbon County’s planning board considers subdivision amendments

By Sun Advocate

The county’s planning board met Tuesday and subdivision amendments were some of the most discussed issues on the agenda.
First in line was an application from Aspen Cove near Scofield Reservoir to add 15 lots to the plat of the partially developed subdivision. But a concern about fire protection arose at the meeting.
“I am concerned about the fire protection in these areas,” said planning board member Robert Welch. “Looking at this as a member of the Helper fire department and having seen some fires in the area over the last couple of years I am concerned that the development is not meeting the International Fire Code.”
A discussion ensued about whether the county has already accepted the standards. Welch thought the code has been accepted, but county planning director Dave Levanger indicated that he could find no proof of it.
“I understand that each fire department must accept it as their standard,” pointed out Carbon Commissioner Mike Milovich. “A lot of departments have not accepted it.”
Welch was concerned that the homes and cabins in the development may lack adequate water pressure to fight a fire.
“Scofield has a fire department, but Helper backs them up,” said Welch. “I just don’t want to see us put in a position of liability.”
“In the last couple of years, we have had a couple of cabins burn down. One of them took us 41 minutes to respond to. Kent Boyack, Price’s fire chief, said that any structure over 3,600 feet should be sprinkled. The fire marshal’s office recommends sprinklers. Wasatch County requires many cabins have sprinkling systems. They are all concerned with the distribution of structures and how hard it is to respond to them in time to control a fire,” explained Welch.
Milovich pointed out that many standards specify that a line should be able to supply 1,000 gallons per minute.
“That’s a tough standard to meet,” noted the county commissioner.
At the start of the project, developers were pointed in a different direction, said Mark Nielson.
“When we first proposed the subdivision, we were approved with a six-inch line and 20 psi,” indicated Nielson. “That is what was engineered in the original section of the subdivision in 1996. It would be impossible to change that in this section now.”
Planning board chair Richard Tatton indicated that he remembered something about 500 gallons per minute, with certain allowances concerning grade and flow.
Part of the solution at the time was requiring a hose bib within 30 feet of the structure to help fight any fire, indicated Levanger. The last fire in the area was put out with a garden hose before crews arrived on the scene.
“The truth is, up there if it can’t be put out immediately with whatever is handy, the place will probably be gone by the time the fire department arrives,” pointed out Levanger.
Welch suggested that the developers work with Helper Fire Chief Mike Zamantakis on a variance for the flow and pressure.
The planning board approved the subdivision addition, providing the developers contact and work with the Helper chief.
In the next agenda item, David and Dee Mann requested that the commission allow them to split a lot at the Golding Estates subdivision into two and one-third parcels so another house could be placed on it.
Tatton pointed out on the plat that the action had precedence because a number of lots in the subdivision had been split before.
But Carol Sparks, a neighbor to the property told the commission she had a number of problems with the proposal.
“There are only two of us here tonight to protest this, but part of that is due to what I feel is short notification of this meeting as well as the fact only two people were contacted about the meeting,” she stated.
However, officials pointed out that only neighbors within 300 feet had to be notified for the meeting.
“Well I have a number of concerns just the same,” said Sparks. “First of all is the water pressure. We used to have higher pressure, but since PRWID (Price River Water Improvement District) put in the loop it is now lower, so more hook ups could cause problems. Next the water table is high, and septic tanks are having a problem, particularly on the west end of the subdivision. It hasn’t been as bad this year because of the drought, but it will be a problem again.”
Sparks passed out pictures of some of the homes that have been moved onto smaller lots. She voiced concern about what was being allowed.
Levanger pointed out that in that area 12 wide mobile homes are still permitted.
“Finally, I have two more problems,” said Sparks. “The increase in residency in the area is also a problem in terms of access. There is only one road in and out of the subdivision and traffic is getting heavy. In an emergency it could be a real problem. But I think for most of the residents it comes down to one final thing. We all moved out there so we would have space, five acre lots. That’s changing and it is not what we want.”
Tatton indicated the board was sensitive to residents needs and concerns and wanted to work toward a solution.
“Looking at that plat and the way it is being split up would make anyone want to move,” said board member Earl Gunderson. “We can’t let this go on.”
Resident Marlon Winger supported Sparks, pointing out that septic tanks were a real concern.
“When I bought the property, I was told by a couple of sources that I could subdivide it right down to acre lots if I wanted,” said David Mann.
The board indicated Mann could, but only with the permission of the county. That permission hinges on the use of the area.
Lynna Topolovec moved to table the matter until the problems resolved. The board passed the motion.
In an unrelated matter, the board discussed a gas well Petro-gulf Corporation wants to drill near U.S. Highway 6 in the Carbonville area. The proposed site is just of the freeway by the Carbon Canal and the Price River.
“What are you going to do to control any possibility of pollution into the river or the canal?” asked Tatton.
“It’s a self-contained site,” responded company representative Bruce Patterson. “We will berm the outside and all liquids, including even normal surface water will be contained and at the pick up point it can be put into our pipeline to be disposed of.”
The company will provide daily surveillance to be sure there are not leaks or problems.
Responding to a concern raised by board member J.D. Campbell, Patterson pointed out that sleeves were put in for pipelines in the area of the freeway.
The conditional use permit was approved by the planning board.

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