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City council passes rezone, fence height exceptions and cell tower ordinances

Aug 31, 2017 01:12PM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

Sergeant Jason Coons is sworn in as the Murray Police Department’s newest sergeant. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com

George Halliday bought property at 1291 W. Bullion Street in the early 90s with intention of building a home there. 

Though it’s over two decades later, he finally intends to make that a reality. 

“I thought it’d be nice to come on home,” Halliday, who currently lives in Taylorsville, told the city council during its Aug. 1 meeting. 

The Murray City Council passed a zoning change 4-1 (Councilman Dave Nicponski opposed) to change the approximately one-acre property from agricultural to R-1-10, or a low-density single family. Most of the surrounding neighborhood falls under the R-1-10 zoning which generally indicates homes. The zone change allows for Halliday to begin designing site plans for the property. 

Halliday originally favored building three homes on the lot (he has two sons) but after discussions with city planners, decided to follow its recommendation for a flag lot. That would mean a house built along Bullion Street with a private lane leading to the second house behind it. 

Some neighbors have reservations about the property. Janae Christensen lives just east of the property. She was concerned about road safety, trees needing to be removed for fire safety and the introduction of a flag lot.

“We live in the most dangerous stretch of that road so we’re going to have private lane, private lane, private lane all huddled there right together and it’s a dangerous situation,” Christensen said adding that her mailbox has been “plowed in” because people don’t notice the curb. 

Christensen said she was happy to welcome a new house onto the property, she just felt a flag lot would be an odd choice that would require additional expenses to make it work. 

“A flag lot just seems weird to me,” she said. 

Halliday said the property being developed would clear up some concerns specifically with the trees. He said they would be removed for the construction of the houses. 

Other items discussed during the Aug. 1 meeting:

• City council unanimously passed an ordinance to add new wording regarding the relocation of monopoles, or cell towers, within the Murray City Center District zone. 

One cell tower is located within that district. Development Services Director Tim Tingey said there’s a desire to relocate the tower, preferably away from residential districts to mitigate the impact. 

He said the ordinance would now include a conditional use permit and would require these towers be placed at least 165 feet away from residential uses. It would also require placement on a parcel of land designated for civic uses like a school or fire station. 

“We feel like this is an important part of the code to relocate certain cell towers and hopefully mitigate impacts,” Tingey said. 

• An ordinance to amend city code regarding exceptions for fence height was passed unanimously by the city council. 

Tingey said the reasons for the exceptions is when impacts to properties would necessitate greater height than the minimum standards. 

Those impacts can include adjacency to heavily trafficked streets, uses on the property such as tennis courts and with larger lots that may allow for an additional one or two feet. 

City code has standard fence height at six feet for the backyard and three to four feet for the front yard pending the type of fence. 

Tingey said the ordinance standardizes the height with all exceptions, meaning they can rise to eight feet. He specifically noted houses along the Jordan Canal Trail where the number of people who walk that trail means the impact on neighboring houses would merit a higher fence height. 

“That’s the primary purpose for this request and ordinance change,” Tingey said. 

• The city also swore in police Lieutenant Michael Obrey, Sergeant Jason Coons and Code Enforcement Officer Christina Cline. 

Police Chief Craig Burnett said it was the first lieutenant promotion in almost eight years with Obrey having been with the department for 22 years. 

Coons has been with Murray for eight years while Cline recently arrived from the South Salt Lake Code Enforcement.    

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