Tuesday, November 18, 2014

City Council 21-Oct-2014: Ashford, Cemetery Policy

Thirty residents attended the council meeting. Fifteen were scout affiliated (youth, leaders, parents), thirteen were there to discuss the Ashford Care Center north wall, one about the Dry Creek trail closing, and one good friend (thanks Mike) came for moral support.


Highland Library outside

  1. Annual Library ReportHighland Library Board
    Blythe Shupe (Library Board Chair) and Kent Slade (Head Librarian) reviewed the status of the library and discussed metrics. There were some general questions. A broader and more detailed discussion will occur at an upcoming work session that will include the library board and city council (no date set yet).
  1. Republic Services (Allied Waste) – Reese DeMill
    Potential rate changes were discussed along with the notion of keeping our rates the same if we renew a multi-year contract with Republic. Mr. DeMill mentioned that Highland resident’s participation in recycling is close to the average participation rate for communities that have an opt-out program (all residents are enrolled and you have to ask to be excluded from the program). The city could save up to an additional $10K in disposal fees if we were to switch from opt-in to opt-out. I did some quick math and determined that if we added the additional cost paid by the residents there could be a small net benefit (~2K).


  1. Public Comment:
    One resident commented on the closed portion of Dry Creek Trail. He indicated support for keeping it open. Note, please refer to item 7 in my notes from the 16-Sep-2014 council meeting.


  1. MOTION: Amending 3.08.040 of the Highland Municipal Code – Updating to reflect Utah Code Changes—Approved with limited discussion. Our building codes are required to align with state codes. We may add have additional requirements but must incorporate all state codes. This change was a simple update to ensure that references used the correct numbers

  2. MOTION: Amending 13.48 of the Highland Municipal Code - City Cemetery Policies and Regulations. A motion was made to review the requested changes to ensure that residents be allowed to pay the costs associated with some services (double-deep burials) and then look into a whether an appeals process should be outlined for cases where the customers don’t agree with the sexton’s (person who oversees the cemetery) ruling.


  1. Ashford Assisted Living center.

    Ashford_Assisted_Living_Mmemory_Care_-_ExteriorAshford residents and employees as well as neighbors were present for this discussion item. I was prepared for a somewhat confrontational discussion and was pleasantly surprised at how cordial the comments were. Both Ashford residents and neighbors spoke in favor their respective views that a wrought iron fence be allowed instead of a wall or that a wall should be built. Note, please refer to my notes from the 7-Oct-2014 Council meeting where  the Ashford wall was discussed during the public comment period.

    The Ashford Care Activity Director (Lisa Peterson) started her comments with I’ve meet with each of the neighbors and now understand that this is a much more complex issue than I originally thought. She still wanted a fence rather than a wall but she had taken the time to speak with each of the neighbors individually and so understood their concerns and set a positive tone for the meeting. Several residents or family members spoke in favor of the fence and all neighbors in attendance spoke in favor of the wall.

    When the council discussed the issue all but one councilman was in favor of staying with the original plan to build the wall. The owner/developer had posted a bond to build a wall in order to get his occupancy permit. My point of view was 1) that the wall requirement had been approved by planning commission, city council and mayor; 2) In order to open without a wall the owner had to post a bond to ensure that a wall would be built; 3) The developer designed the building including where to located rooms and windows, knowing where the wall would be built. By posting the bond the developer in my mind built a virtual wall. Any issues with rooms and views were created by the owner and are not the fault of the city, planning commission, or neighbors. Changing the wall requirement, while it would benefit a couple of the Ashford residents, would also create an issue with some of the neighbors. in my mind this issue was settled when the bond was posted and I could find no compelling reason to make revoke the requirement.

    At the conclusion of this item we took a short break. The neighbors and Ashford residents took the time to speak with each other. I am glad we had this discussion as it was very healing. My hat is off to Tim Irwin for getting this put on the agenda with Jessie Schoenfeld’s support (which by the way I was not in favor of doing).

  2. Action Item Status Report (this is an updated version not the one in the original agenda)

    2014-10 Highland City Action Item Status Report


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