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Price mayor’s letter, traffic issues halt development in Carbonville

By Sun Advocate

A letter from the mayor of Price and several county concerns about traffic have halted a developer’s plans to place houses on private property in the Carbonville area, at least temporarily.
The traffic issue came up when Vic Santi approached the county’s planning board during the summer and asked for a zone change on 150 acres north of the Questar Gas complex on Wood Hill Road.
The planning and zoning board asked the developer to complete a traffic study at the location because the roads and exits are restricted and pass through sensitive areas.
Santi came back to the board on Tuesday with the same request, armed with the results of the study.
The developer indicated the study said he could put up to 150 houses in the area before the traffic on the streets involved would become overwhelming.
“The study shows we could do 150 units,” pointed out Santi at the Nov. 4 planning board meeting. “But we don’t intend to do more than 75 total, and it will probably be more like 50. That wouldn’t even generate a third of the traffic that the study says we can have.”
But members serving on the county board appeared to be unconvinced that the lower traffic rate would not be a problem.
A letter sent to county planning and zoning director Dave Levanger by Price Mayor Joe Piccolo accounted for part of the board’s concern.
“Although the traffic study shows adequate roads and traffic for this project, I disagree with the study and find it flawed,” stated Piccolo in the letter. “I do not believe the area around the schools (in Price) have been considered in the plan.”
Piccolo’s letter pointed out that residents driving to and from the proposed subdivision “will travel the 400 North Street that travels in front of Mont Harmon Junior High regularly.”
The city, which provides emergency services to the area in which the subdivision would be built, has “limited emergency access at peak drive times with no alternatives in view or being suggested,” continued the mayor’s letter.
After the planning board members discussed the issues raised in the Piccolo’s letter, Santi expressed his concern about allowing the city to influence decisions made in the county’s jurisdiction.
“We have to be concerned about the safety of the kids at the school and how it would impact Price city streets,” indicated Carbon Commissioner Mike Milovich.
“I have no problem with the zone change, but the potential traffic problems need to be solved,” stressed Milovich, who serves as the commission’s representative on the planning and zoning board.
There was some discussion at the meeting about how the situation could be resolved. But at present, the congestion that occurs during the peak traffic hours around the junior high school and the crossing over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks on Gardner Road appear difficult to overcome.
The planning zoning board felt that resolving the problem was a function of what the developer should do.
Deputy zoning administrator Gayla Williams questioned the board’s take on the situation.
“If the traffic and the roads are a problem for the city or the county, then why should the developer pay for fixing it?” asked Williams.
The situation with the proposed subdivision in Carbonville represents an age old problem that the planning and zoning staff face at locations across the county, explained Levanger. The dilemma involves deciding when to support the public improvement of infrastructure to accommodate private development and facilities.
“Where should it start and where should it end?” asked the county planning direction.
During the sewer construction on Gardner Road and near Mountain States Road, many residents had to drive up by the junior high to get into town, noted Santi.
“There were no problems at the school then,” said the developer. He told the board he had opened a private road for people to travel on during the construction. “I anticipate improving that road by the canal when I do this development and turning it over to the county.”
Another issue that emerged at the planning board meeting was the connection of the subdivision to Price River Water Improvement District’s sewer system that has just been put in the area.
“The area could have septic tanks, although no perk test have been done there,” indicated Levanger.
Santi pointed out that the end of the sewer line was more than 300 away from the proposed subdivision site and he wouldn’t have to hook up the development. However, Santi said he would still consider the option.
Williams advised the planning and zoning board that she had talked with Phil Palmer from PRWID prior to the meeting. Palmer told the deputy zoning administrator he anticipated that, if a subdivision went into the Carbonville area in question, the water improvement district would find the funds to bring the sewer lines to development site.
However, the traffic problem still remained the major obstacle to the board’s approval.
The members of the county’s planning and zoning board voted to table any action in the matter until Santi and the developer’s engineers can come up with some type of solution to alleviate the traffic concerns.
“I will ask our staff to contact Price city and to work with your engineers in coming up with a solution,” planning board chair Richard Tatton said to Santi. “It’s tabled until then.”
In unrelated actions, the planning board members chose to recommend the zoning be changed on property owned by Frank Saccomanno in Spring Glen so a family member could build a house on part of the land.
The members of the panel also approved a conditional use permit for installing a phone site and microwave tower on the Four Mile Hill for Nextel.

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