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Idaho Enterprise

Malad City Council—May

On Wednesday, May 8 the City Council met for a regular meeting, as well as two hearings.

Variance Hearing—Butler

A public hearing on the issue of a variance applied for by Micah Butler at 147 S Main to allow for the construction of a triplex housing structure was held  The variance would split a flag lot and build a triplex on the 60’ wide lot.  The ordinance requires 70’.  Shelly Williams stated that PZ recommended denying the variance due to the ordinance and the potential of setting a precedent.  She reported that no one was present at the hearing, but a letter was submitted in opposition.  A neighbor of the proposed project wrote that they opposed the variance.  They felt that squeezing in a triplex to the area, especially as a result of the children in the area, would create danger and turn a quiet residential street into a “compound.” 

The mayor asked for supporters of the variance to speak.  Another neighbor explained that Butler was a good neighbor and of good character.  He felt that the triplex would be an improvement to the area.  He was in favor of the variance.  

David Giles used to live near Butler, and explained that he also felt Butler was a good neighbor and the town could use more rentals, and that the ask was reasonable.

Micah Butler spoke to the council.  He mentioned that “yes, there are a lot of kids on the street, and more would be better.  What better place to have more kids than with parents who love them?  I want to provide more housing for people who can’t afford houses elsewhere.”  According to Butler, the square footage is larger than the properties near them.  There are over ten with the same or smaller dimensions nearby.  “The yard will double the square footage for what’s required,” Butler stated, and “It’s not out of the ordinary for the neighborhood.”  The section of the city comprehensive plan discussing the importance of flexible land use was pointed to, particularly the portion which stressed the need to “provide a variety of housing…densities and styles” and that which “encourage[d] the development of vacant land to create greater density of land near the center of town.”

The property owners stressed that the narrow houseplan was suited for the narrow yard, and that the building would improve the neighborhgood. 

Williams noted that other variances have been denied because the precedent outweighs the benefit, and that was what needed to be determined in this case.  

A member of the public mentioned that  “we are looking for housing.  And there is nowhere we can go.  There might be little things that might need to be tweaked, but Micah is addressing the housing need.  We want to live here, we want to contribute, but we are just stuck in a position where there is
no housing.”

Butler explained, “I was twelve years old looking at how to use inside city limits trying to figure out how to make the area better.  This is my opportunity, and hope you guys can see what I’m trying to do.”

John Christophersen stated, “This lot is on my radar for code enforcement.  If they were allowed to build, we could get rid of a lot of trash.  And they didn’t accumulate it—it was left there by the previous owner.  

Bulter confirmed that “It was 40 truckloads of trash I’ve taken out” since purchasing the property.

One issue raised is that the property could conceivably be arranged in order to account for the ten feet needed to meet the ordinance, but the owners are interested in keeping a straight property line, which is why they requested the variance.  

Jaime Olsen stated that she believed the actual legal description doesn’t look like what it would seem based on the existing lot, and a survey would be necessary.

Lance Tripp suggested moving the proposed line of the building in order to meet the ordinance.  He also suggested that since there was opposition from a neighbor within 300 feet, he wouldn’t support a variance.  

Tyrell Neal suggested that rentals have led to some problems in the community.

The hearing was closed.  Lance Tripp motioned to deny the variance and allow the petitioners to go forward with changing the ten feet to avoid the need for the variance.  The motion passed unanimously.

Wastewater Improvement Project Hearing

Emma from SEICOG spoke to the council to open a public hearing on the wastewater project.  The purpose of the hearing was to allow for public input on the WWIP.  Final completion was anticipated in May, but will be extended by a bit.  Since they have reached the second stage, an update was required.  The hearing presented information about how the granted funds and loan funds will be used to complete the project. 

Kyle Redman

Redman spoke to the council on behalf of ATC.  His grandmother worked at a switchboard, and his family has been in the communication business ever since. ATC is based in Albion, Arco/Mackay, Malad.  

Redman spoke to the council about business voice phones, and came to give quotes for security cameras.  They walked the park with Lance recently, and feel that they could solve a lot of the issues.  The cost is malleable, and not set in stone.  Fiber needs to go to the pavilion.  Fiber is the best internet technology for what the city needs, according to Redman.  The fiber upgrade would not be charged to the city.  To the left of pavilion, they would do a rack mount that would house the equipment.   Cameras would be installed at the pickleball court, and wifi to the snack shop.  The ATC system would imitate the system in place but make it faster, and cloud based.  

A lease option was listed at $500 or so a month.  The current bill is $400 a month.  

Total cost purchase option $12K for everything.  Mo/819$. The city took the possible upgrade under advisement.

Jesse Dredge

Jesse Dredge spoke to the council about the noise ordinance enforcement on his property.  A long field is shared between neighbors, and dirt bikes have resulted in noise complaints against the property.  He is hoping to obtain updated guidance on noise ordinances, and how they might be adjusted.  A signed statement from neighbors supported the allowance of dirt bikes.  He says there is a history of dirt bike and ATV riding in the neighborhood.  He wants to be respectful of his neighbor, but he thinks that the neighbor’s complaint is inconsistent.  A decimal meter shows that the noise from his property and the neighbors are the same as the dirt bikes.  

He believes that noise is obnoxious, but tolerable within certain limits.  

Lance Tripp asked for clarification on what the ordinance states.  

John Christophersen cited 403-sec. 8, about continual, ongoing noise.  Brett Evanson read, “It is unlawful to make, continue or allow any loud, excessive, noise that injures persons or the property.”  A friend who also uses the course points out that the ordinance is too vague to be able to tell what is enforceable.  The complainant’s dog is just as loud.  

Lance Tripp pointed out that the ordinance doesn’t specific the time of day.  It was passed in 1994.  

Tyrell Neal didn’t know if setting decibel levels would be a good idea.  Tripp pointed out that time of day would make a difference, and that it’s too subjective.  He would like to see a change to the ordinance to make day time less strict.  He says that the best thing is for people to come to an arrangement on their own.  

Sheriff Jones mentioned the state code related to “disturbing the peace” that is similar.  

Neal was concerned that this will cause problems in the community.  The bikers are seeking clarity about the reason for the enforcement.  

Neighbors of the bike course were in attendance to complain about the noise, although some were also there to say that they like the tradition of riding and shouldn’t prevent it. 

The neighbors suggested that “the dirt piles and noise” were the primary source of nuisance.  

John Williams explained that the difference between riding on property and creating a dirt track is significant.  He opposed any action to be taken without any chance for public input or presentation.  Any decision made to change ordinance would have to be posted and discussed.  

A discussion between neighbors involved in the dirt track area continued, covering a number of points for and against its presence.

Any changes will require a public hearing.  

The concern going forward was what the effect of enforcing the noise ordinance would be, as based on its relative vagueness, it could lead to a number of complaints about all manner of noises, from power tools to animals.   

By the end of the meeting, no formal decision had been reached.  The neighbors were encouraged to come to a compromise among themselves, while the council suggested it would look at clarifying the language of the ordinance.

Jon Farrell

JUB engineer Jon Farrell spoke to the council about the agreement for signage in both school zones, which was approved for the area near the elementary school, as well as the junior and senior high schools.

Farrell updated the council on the drinking water system.

Flows and other issues will be things to look at in the future.  Farrell mentioned the need to improve water checking and read meters more frequently in the future.  

A leak detection survey was necessary to locate water leaking out of pipes and into sewer.  The city was advised to hire a company that works with communities to find leaks.   

A report on the collection system for the sewer system.  Some options for replacing pipes that are old or less capacity than is needed.  Some of the pipes are almost 100 years old.  Some problems of infiltration on Bannock street.  Different trucks and solutions for cleaning the facilities were discussed.    

4th of July

The theme for the 4th of July was chosen from a list of suggestions for slogans.  “Independence day the Malad Way” was agreed to out of the choices, and it was decided to promote the 160 year mark.  Tyrell Neal said he will work on t-shirt design.

Office Safe

The old office safe was going to be hauled off to the dump.  But an employee wanted to repurpose it, which required the council to declare it “no value”.  Motion to declare it so was

Animal Ordinance

Planning and Zoning discussed the issue of chickens in the city limits.  Right now, you have to have a ½ acre, and you can have 5 chickens.  If you have less than that, you can have up to 5 laying hens if they follow the requirements, which also say they need to be caged.  The numbers that govern the ordinance don’t work inside the city, according to some input to the council.  The smell, noise, nuisance elements are already included in the ordinance.  

The council determined that if people want to have chickens, they’ll have to be caged.    

The city council will work on a new ordinance and go through the process of establishing regulations to set guidelines for their use in city limits.  In the meantime, John Christophersen will give warnings and inform people about what the new ordinance will be.  It will be adopted in the updated PZ ordinance documents.  

JC reports that he gave out his first fine for an at large goat.

Boy Scouts Building

ICRMP needs to be contacted first to establish what the liability coverage is for the small building to be used by the Boy Scouts.

The council approved it being located on city property provided insurance approves it, next to shed near church bldg.

Business License

Trevor's Healthy Green Tree and Lawn was approved for a business license.  

Tyler Webster

Webster reported that the Deep Creek line blew.  Two houses were affected and filed claims for restoration.

John Christophersen

Christophersen is working on making a spreadsheet of problem addresses/dogs.  Drawings and bids for the new dog pound are coming together.  A grant will be written for it.  

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