Aug 292012

By Naomi Hatch
Last week, the Snowflake Town Council denied a special use permit requested by Clint and Marsha Gardner.
Marsha Gardner was present at the Aug. 21 council meeting, and stated her case to place a manufactured home on a parcel located at 38 E. Second St. South as a residence for her mother. The problem is that the par-cel is in the Historic District, where manufactured homes are not allowed.
Planning and Zoning Administrator Dale Call noted that the Historic District has always restricted manu-factured homes. Town officials met with the Gardners to discuss the request and determined that a manufac-tured home did not conform to the objectives of the historic preservation plan, and recommended denial.
The Snowflake Planning and Zoning Commission met Aug. 7 to hear the request and in a 6-0 vote, ap-proved a motion to recommend the special use permit be denied.
“It is my belief when Ordinance 04-237 was passed, that we overlooked this section of the code,” said Call. “I believe this section should have been amended to remove special use. There is a little discrepancy in our code.” He explained that he had given the information to the planning and zoning commission, as well as the council, that showed the table in the ordinance indicates that a person may apply for placement of a manufac-tured home through a special use permit in general commercial, but the code specifically states in Title 10-6-13 A.2.f. that a manufactured home cannot be placed in a general commercial district.
Call said that there had been notices of violation for property maintenance issued to the previous property owners, and when Gardners purchased the property they brought it into compliance with town code, even re-moving an existing utility building constructed around 1930 that was in disrepair.
Councilman Chris Brimhall asked if a stipulation to remove the manufactured home after Gardner’s mother no longer lives there could be added to a motion if the council could approve the special use permit.
“This is a really hard one for me, because I’ve always liked you so much,” said Councilwoman Lorri Davis. “I’m on the Historic Review Committee, and we’ve had this happen before with someone who wanted to help out with their grandfather,” noting that they denied that request.
Councilman Tom Poscharsky noted that the code states that a manufactured home is not allowed in the historic district and this should not have come to the council.
Vice Mayor Jason Whiting moved to table the item until it could be reviewed by legal counsel.
“The fact of the matter is, ultimately, there is a legal issue here regarding the code,” said Town Manager Paul Watson, noting that the bigger issue was whether the council interpreted the code as Call described it and if they would follow the recommendation to deny. Watson said that if the council goes another direction, then he would recommend seeking an opinion from legal counsel.
In response to a question from Mayor Kelly Willis, Gardner said that her mother had sold her property and must be out by Sept. 21.
“These things are hard for us to do,” said Mayor Willis, noting that since the question of legality had been raised, perhaps they should move forward with legal advice, but there was a motion on the floor.
Whiting withdrew his motion.
“I feel for Mrs. Gardner for the situation she’s in right now,” the mayor said. “If we voted on this tonight, according to the mandates that the law says, we have no other recourse than to turn it down.”
“What I’m telling you is the code is pretty clear, but if this council thinks this is something you want to entertain, I can go back to legal counsel and see if there’s a way we can entertain this,” said Watson.
“I disagree. I think we need to live by our town code. I don’t see where this is going to meet any of the criteria,” said Poscharsky.
Poscharsky moved to deny the special use permit. The motion passed in a 5-1 vote, with Brimhall opposing it.