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East Side Planning Commission Will Tackle Issues Raised By Samak Fracas

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Pat Putt
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The East County Planning Commission is headed for a work session in January, following the debate at their November 5th meeting, about placing a trailer on a small lot in Samak East.

Development Director Pat Putt says they’re trying to deal with some planning issues that go beyond just Samak.   

Putt told KPCW that in Samak and other locales, like Uintalands near the Mirror Lake Highway, there is a question about whether areas designed for recreational cabins or single-family homes should also allow trailers or RV’s.

As we’ve reported, the recent debate concerned a requested Low Impact Permit from Kody and Wendy Sheffield to place a trailer on their parcel.      Such a permit can be approved just by the Development Director, but Putt thought it was appropriate to take it to the East County Commission.       

“We had a discussion with the Planning Commission several months ago on that, and the room was pretty full.  I don’t think it’s appropriate for one person to necessarily make a decision in a vacuum, and that person being me.  Thought it was appropriate for everybody to have an opportunity just to speak to the matter.”

He said it’s a complex issue, and one where the East County Planning Code needs to respond.       

“It’s neighborhood land use, and it’s historical use, concerns over septic systems and water quality, and so many layers to this.  I think the fundamental problem that we have here has to begin with the way our Code addresses this sort of activity, which it doesn’t do very well at all.   We have a basic definition of an Open Space Recreation use, non-motorized, that speaks to campgrounds.  We have a separate definition of a campground.   Those two definitions don’t thread together very well.  We have a definition of a mobile home that’s not skirted, that could be allowed with a Conditional Use Permit for 180 days.   None of em really address this.”

Putt said the county staff has drafted some amendments to East Side code to better define the uses.       

“Commercial campgrounds, versus private or family campgrounds, what a Recreational Vehicle is, in terms of being different than a mobile home.  And I think what the Planning Commisison has asked us to do is to pull those back off the shelf and bring those back to them in January, so that we can consider making some of these amendments permanent.  And that may give us better direction and better performance standards to deal with some of these issues in the future.”

As he observed, one side in the debate at Samak  says they bought their property for seasonal, recreational use and have done that for decades.    The other side maintains that their covenants or restrictions call for home development.     

“I just think we have to step back, take a very deep breath, and work on better predictability in the Code.   Is there gonna be a solution out there that everybody’s satisfied?  Maybe.   But I think we can do a much better job of working together to define what these uses are, how long some of these uses, as in, bring in a trailer onto your property for the summer, and get those things into the Code.”

County Development Director Pat Putt.

Also coming up, Putt said that on November 19th, the East Side Commission will get an update on efforts to plan the Cedar Crest Village Overlay zone in the Hoytsville area.

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