Centerville City Hall
250 N. Main Street
Centerville, UT 84014
(801) 292-8034 fax
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Monday - Friday
March 1, 2016
Minutes of the Centerville City Council meeting held Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at Centerville City Hall, 250 North Main Street, Centerville, Utah.
Mayor Paul A. Cutler
Council Members Tamilyn Fillmore
STAFF PRESENT Steve Thacker, City Manager
VISITORS Interested citizens (see attached sign-in sheet)
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
PRAYER OR THOUGHT Councilwoman Mecham
Neil Lish – Mr. Lish asked if the Council or staff know who is responsible for throwing the small advertising newspapers in driveways, and expressed a desire to contact those responsible and ask that it stop on his property. The Council and staff responded that entities are not required to register advertising with the city, and they do not know who is responsible.
MINUTES REVIEW AND ACCEPTANCE
The minutes of the February 16, 2016 work session and regular Council meeting were reviewed. Councilman Ince made a motion to approve the minutes of both meetings. Councilwoman Mecham seconded the motion, which passed by unanimous vote (5-0).
STAFF REPORT AND DISCUSSION REGARDING REPTILES AND EXOTIC ANIMALS IN RESIDENTIAL ZONES
In December of last year, the Community Development Department received a few complaints regarding a large number of reptiles and other alleged animals owned by James Dix at residential property (558 Applewood Drive). Lisa Romney, City Attorney, reported that the Community Development Department investigated the complaints and found no violation of City Zoning Ordinances. The Community Development Department determined that the ownership and maintenance of reptiles at the subject location is not specifically regulated or prohibited under Centerville City Zoning Ordinances. It was concluded that this matter appears to be primarily an animal control issue. The City has adopted the Davis County animal control ordinances by reference. Based on initial discussions with the County, it was concluded that many of the reptiles and animals at the property are exempt from Davis County animal control ordinances because Mr. Dix has a permit from the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) for the possession of certain reptiles and wildlife. Based on these findings, the Community Development Department has not pursued a zoning enforcement action for the possession and housing of reptiles at this location. It appears from initial research by staff and discussions with County and DWR representatives that Mr. Dix is well recognized as an expert in reptiles, and provides rescue services and training for many governmental entities and enforcement agencies.
Ms. Romney named some of the complaints filed, including the housing of an excessive number of animals within the home, having aquariums stacked all over the house, concerns about dangerous reptiles getting out of the house, concerns about a pest control truck parked at the house on a Saturday, introduction of rodents in the community, unsightly appearance of the home, smell, and raccoons and other animals sheltered in the residence.
Clint Thacker, Director of Davis County Animal Control, stated that he inspected the home earlier in the day. He said that some of the allegations were true and some were false. He reported that everything looked healthy and secure, and appeared to be managed in a professional manner. He said there are a lot of animals, but nothing beyond the number to cause alarm. Director Thacker stated he has known Mr. Dix for at least 14 years through his rescue organization, and through Mr. Dix’s involvement in providing education and training to animal control officers nationwide. He confirmed that Mr. Dix has a Certificate of Registration (COR) from the DWR, and pointed out that City ordinances only specifically regulate numbers of cats and dogs in a residence. Director Thacker said that, in his opinion, no smell or noise problems are apparent, and there is nothing to cause alarm. He described some of Mr. Dix’s community education efforts, and expressed gratitude for knowledge Mr. Dix has shared with children. Mayor Cutler added that Mr. Dix made a presentation in Founders Park during a past 4th of July celebration. The Mayor commented that the concern is the appropriateness in a residential situation, and the possibility that the reptiles will get out. Responding to a question from Councilman McEwan, Director Thacker stated that Mr. Dix does not receive payment from the County for his education and rescue efforts.
Sergeant Wyatt Bubak, representing the DWR, stated that Mr. Dix holds a lengthy COR from the DWR, specifying what animals and how many he may have. The DWR can conduct an inspection at any reasonable time. Mayor Cutler asked if it is normal to house these types of animals in residential areas rather than commercial areas. Sergeant Bubak responded that each individual case is different. The DWR does not regulate location. Compliance with city codes is the responsibility of the individual. Mr. Dix is unique in the extent of his COR, but is not unique in holding a COR.
Mr. Dix stated he began his reptile rescue program in 1998. He said he has 43 years of experience in handling wild, dangerous, and venomous reptiles, is very good at what he does, and has never had an escapee. He explained that multiple animals of the same type are needed for educational situations for the health and comfort of the animals. Mr. Dix described some of his rescue and education efforts. He stated it is not his intention to make anyone uncomfortable, and expressed confidence that the situation is not unsafe. Mr. Dix said all his animals are housed in secure cages; the rattlesnakes are in locked tanks in a secure room. He said his mammals (housed at a different location) are very well trained. Mr. Dix described his intention to move the animals to a vacant shelter in West Valley if discussions with the West Valley Council go well. He said he will keep the animals (approximately 250 at this time) at the present location until another location is available. Mr. Dix said his rescue program is a non-profit operation. He is a plumber by trade. He provided the Council with information packets (attached to the agenda packet on NovusAgenda).
Mayor Cutler stated he feels Mr. Dix provides a valuable service, but that the residential home is not an appropriate location. Mr. Dix assured the Council that he does not house exotic animals for which anti-venom is not readily available.
Councilwoman Fillmore expressed that, considering the fact that the City has adopted policies regulating the number of residents and cats and dogs allowed in a home, her inclination is to make a motion to send the matter to the Planning Commission for consideration. Cory Snyder, Community Development Director, responded he feels it is more of an animal control issue than land-use issue. Agricultural animals are regulated in the city because of space needs. Chickens were introduced in residential areas because of current trends. Mr. Snyder stated that zoning ordinances can be supportive, but the County animal control ordinance would be the place to start if a change is desired. He cautioned that regulating pets, hobbies, and behavior becomes problematic. Councilman McEwan asked if Mr. Dix is required to have a business license. Mr. Snyder responded that business licenses are reciprocal by State law. The question is determining the point of business. Mr. Dix commented he holds a business license issued by Tooele County. Mayor Cutler stated the City will continue to investigate the situation and look at options. He committed to Mr. Dix that he would contact Mayor Bigelow of West Valley City and encourage progress regarding the vacant shelter. Mr. Dix said he would be more than happy to contribute his expertise if the City decides to adopt reptile laws.
SOUTH MAIN STREET CORRIDOR PLAN
Bruce Pitt, a resident and Centerville business owner, invited the City Council and anyone interested to contemplate whether or not an assisted living project, particularly on South Main Street, would bring value and be of substance for the community. He invited them to investigate sufficiently to make discussions productive without the contention that tends to surround discussions about South Main Street. He expressed his love for Centerville and said he has been involved in discussions about South Main Street for quite some time. He said his family is interested in selling their property on Main Street, but he feels strongly about high density in Centerville. Mr. Pitt said he has been approached about the possibility of an assisted living center on Main Street. He pointed out that an assisted living center would not generate a lot of crime or weekday traffic, but would provide a valuable opportunity for service. He said that after much contemplation he felt he could get behind the possibility of an assisted living project. He mentioned the possibility of putting parking underneath the structure to preserve green space on the surface. Mr. Pitt said he visited a number of assisted living centers, and was especially impressed with one in Brigham City developed by the Dunn and Larsen families. The goal of that facility is to have each citizen feel better about themselves every day. Mr. Pitt said he believes there are many people in Centerville who love the city, want to continue living here, and want to die here. He expressed a desire to avoid the contention that has always been part of the South Main Street Corridor (SMSC), and invited everyone to visit the facility in Brigham City.
Councilwoman Mecham asked Mr. Pitt how many beds he would anticipate for the proposed facility and the size of the building. Mr. Pitt responded that he would like her to visit the Brigham City facility and experience the environment that can be created. Councilman McEwan stated he feels taking a public body out of a public setting gives the appearance of impropriety. He said he does not have a problem with the concept of an assisted living facility, but he does not want to give the impression of giving special access. Mr. Pitt asked if the Planning Department or another neutral party could be sent to obtain information and report back to the Council. Mayor Cutler said it is not uncommon for the City Council to have a fieldtrip. A fieldtrip would be noticed as a public meeting, with the public welcome to join the Council. The Council also has the ability to send staff. Mr. Pitt said the only way he can think of to bypass the hurt feelings that have come out of the SMSC process is for those interested to take a look at what can be done in an up close, personal way. Councilwoman Mecham asked if a video could be made of the inside and outside of the building to present in public meeting. Mr. Pitt responded that a video could be made, but would not portray the emotions that can be experienced in person. He said he was not completely sold on the idea until he personally visited the Brigham City facility.
Councilwoman Ivie said she is concerned with the idea of voting on something just because she feels like it without being able to justify the vote in some other way. She said she would be more comfortable if a video were presented in open meeting. Councilwoman Ivie said that, like many other people, she has limited time and does not have the flexibility to take a fieldtrip to Brigham City. Mayor Cutler commented that an assisted living facility project would require changes to the zoning ordinance. Councilwoman Ivie said she knows there are strong feelings about the size of buildings on Main Street and appropriate uses, and said without fairly concrete size definitions she cannot determine whether she would be in favor of the idea. Mr. Pitt repeated his desire for the Council and citizens to personally see the facility in Brigham City to experience what is possible. Councilwoman Ivie responded that buildings have to externally fit their location. She said she believes if being inside the building is required to have a positive feeling, it would not be a good fit for the community. She said she thinks the idea is a good one, but may not work in the proposed location if it does not harmonize with the neighbors. Mr. Pitt suggested the Council talk to the Brigham City Council and community to hear how the existing facility was received. Councilman McEwan complimented Mr. Pitt for letting everyone be on the same factual basis as the proposal is put together. He added that he believes specific numbers will be needed to begin discussions and gauge the community’s reaction. Mr. Pitt expressed willingness to follow the established process, and repeated his desire to resolve issues early in the process to prevent contention.
Mr. Snyder stated that, in his experience, land owners bear the burden of research in a potentially controversial project, typically doing high-level investigation and holding neighborhood meetings before presenting to the City. He said he would not want the Council to be cornered into feeling committed, bypassing the public process. The developers need to put time into investigating the possibilities. Mr. Pitt expressed his commitment to following the established process, and his desire to visit with the citizens about the exciting possibilities. Councilwoman Ivie cautioned Mr. Pitt that a zoning change for an assisted living facility is a sore subject for many citizens because of a previous situation, in which a zoning change was made on the assumption of an assisted living facility, but ending with a very different result. A majority of the Council seemed to be in agreement that it would be acceptable for staff to visit the Brigham City facility.
CITIZEN REQUEST REGARDING ACTIVE GREEN SPACE
Brita Johnson, a citizen of Centerville, expressed the concern that City ordinances do not differentiate between active and passive green space in development requirements. She referred to the development occurring on Porter Lane (Hafoka property), and stated she feels active and passive green space should be differentiated to guide future development, and suggested perhaps the City could be divided into specific zones. Ms. Johnson explained she is a contract paralegal trained to look for ways to mitigate risk. She suggested Centerville examine what sister cities have done to avoid ambiguity that could be challenged regarding green space.
Mr. Snyder explained how green space is calculated, and expressed the opinion that the Hafoka property with the wetlands area was an anomaly within the city. He said the only other place that might require active and passive green space to be differentiated is the hillside. If the city were to consider annexation on the hillside, differentiation would be helpful, but he said he does not feel it is a wide-spread issue in Centerville. As a former Planning Commissioner, Councilman Ince said he feels the Hafoka situation would have been different if the location of the wetlands on the property had been different. Mr. Snyder responded he feels it is a matter of perspective.
Mr. Snyder described densities in Centerville prior to 2003, and since 2003, as well as parks and open space requirements, and Park Impact Fees. He described the balance to be found between impact fees and density. Passive open space requirements exist in all City zones. The City does not require active space, and Mr. Snyder stated the long-term viability of active space inside developments is questionable. He explained that active space is used as a density bonus in all other South Davis cities. Most communities do not make active space a priority in their ordinances. Mr. Snyder repeated that most sensitive property in the city will be on the hillside and shore lands. Ms. Johnson pointed out that developable space runs out over time, and she expressed confidence that even the hillside will be developed eventually. She expressed a desire for the City to lay ground work for development.
Councilman McEwan made a motion to direct the Planning Commission to consider how active versus passive space is calculated in relation to sensitive lands. Councilwoman Mecham seconded the motion, which passed by unanimous vote (5-0).
The Council took a break from 9:23 p.m. to 9:32 p.m.
SOLID WASTE COLLECTION CONTRACT
Blaine Lutz, Finance Director/Assistant City Manager, reported that the City’s contract with ACE for solid waste and recycling collection will expire June 30, 2016. The Council could choose to either put the contract out for bid, or renegotiate with ACE. Mr. Lutz emphasized that quality of service is important with solid waste collection. He stated that ACE has always provided excellent service and continues to do so, and stated that staff does not feel any collector could provide better service. ACE has indicated willingness to negotiate an extension or renewal of the contract. The bid process would need to begin right away, if the Council chose to go out for bid. Mr. Lutz explained that the cost of recycling is up in the air right now, and predictions would be difficult. He recommended the City enter into discussions with ACE to renegotiate the contract for an extension. A new service provider would most likely want at least a five year commitment. The last full RFP for solid waste collection in the city was in 2003.
Councilwoman Fillmore commented she remembers a work session last year with ACE representatives, and comparative data prepared by staff. She said that, following the work session, she was confident in the decision to renew the contract with ACE. Mr. Lutz stated he could update the comparisons. Councilwoman Mecham expressed her opinion that ACE does a wonderful job. The Council and staff discussed the bid process. City Manager Thacker stated that whether the Council chooses to renegotiate or open a bid, the City’s recycling fee is expected to increase. Mr. Thacker commented that last year Councilman Higginson, as the City’s liaison to the Waste District, mentioned the Waste District may add the ability to sort recycling from regular garbage at the burn plant, which would make home garbage/recycling separation unnecessary. Councilman McEwan said, considering the amount of time since the last full RFP, it would be worth going out for bid. Councilwoman Fillmore pointed out that a lot of staff time is required to conduct the analysis of expenses and benefits associated with a bid. Mr. Thacker suggested the Mayor and two Council members participate in a subcommittee to review data and make a recommendation to the full Council. The Mayor and Council members Ince and McEwan agreed to work with staff.
• Mayor Cutler reported on outreach efforts by Police Chief Child to educate the community regarding crime and mental health.
CITY MANAGER’S REPORT
• Mr. Thacker updated the Council on State legislative issues. The Council was unanimously in favor of encouraging Legislators to support legislation regarding collection of sales tax for online purchases. Councilman McEwan corrected a statement he made at the last Council meeting regarding SB 114, clarifying that only electrical services could be extended beyond city limits. He stated the Bill has been stripped to only the eleven UTOPIA cities, making it UTOPIA specific Legislation.
Councilman Ince provided the Council with a schedule for citizen outreach evenings at City Hall.
Mayor Cutler recommended the Council appoint Mel Miles to serve on the Whitaker Museum Board. Councilman McEwan made a motion to appoint Mel Miles to the Whitaker Museum Board. Councilwoman Ivie seconded the motion, which passed by unanimous vote (5-0).
At 10:09 p.m. Councilman McEwan made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Councilwoman Ivie seconded the motion, which passed by unanimous vote (5-0).