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Helper addresses planning, zoning matters

By Sun Advocate

Several planning and zoning matters surfaced during the Helper council meeting June 19. The officials focused on resolving the issues, but the council is not the only panel dealing with the problems and concerns.
The Helper officials advised people in attendance at the meeti ng that the council’s job is to approve or disapprove recommendations from the city’s planning and zoning department.
During the public meeting, Helper resident Pam Reddington questioned the council about an apparent intent to support a new trailer park in the city.
“I have owned and operated my trailer park for years and have never received any support from the city,” commented Reddington. “Now I see that on the survey which was handed out recently that Helper wants to see if there is enough community support to start an RV park. My question is why have I never received any support.”
The council responded by explaining that the focus of the survey was to get an idea of what Helper residents want to happen in the city.
“First of all, the council did not put out the survey – the planning and zoning department did. And as far as the RV park question is concerned, the idea was to start an overnight park for those passing through the area. But even if one opened, we would not directly promote the facility,” pointed out city recorder Jona Skerl.
Reddington said her park offers overnight services and she could see no reason to construct a second facility in the city.
“I refer calls that come into city hall to you,” explained Skerl. “This is about the only promotion we can do for your park. We cannot offer monetary assistance in anyway.”
After the discussion, the parties agreed that the focus of the survey was not to promote a specific business, but to get a feeling for what direction citizens want to the city to move.
“I have looked at expanding my trailer park, but I was told that I could not do so because the land is not zoned for such purpose,” noted Reddington.
In order to resolve the issue in question, appointed council member Chuck Buchanan advised Reddington that a business would have to approach the planning and zoning board with a rezoning rquest.
“We would encourage any business in Helper to expand, but we can’t give money to that business to do so. Most of the questions on the survey were aimed toward making Helper a tourist stop. That’s why the question about a RV park was added,” commented Mayor Joe Bonacci.
Buchanan said the city could list the trailer park and services on Heler’s Internet web site.
“As far as promotion is concerned, this is all we can do,” Buchanan concluded.
A second planning and zoning issue raised during the council meeting centered around the town’s historic district.
Because most of the downtown buildings are considered historic, the council passed an ordinance specifying that property owners must obtain approval before making outside changes to the older structures.
“In order to continue receiving historic grant funds, we must have an ordinance in place and reinforce it,” advised Bonacci.
If changes are made without prior approval, the owner may face prosecution for violating the ordinance. Enforcement of the newly adopted ordinance will more than likely become an issue for the planning and zoning department to handle.

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