Monticello considers adjustment to code, denies variance request

by David Boyle
News Director
Members of the Monticello City Council denied a variance request for some mobile homes, discussed subdivision and garbage code, and discussed vacant properties on Main and Center street at their latest meeting.
At their September 26 meeting, members of the Monticello City Council held a public hearing to update part of the city code related to subdivision requirements.
The code update reflected hours of meetings and weeks of work by the Planning and Zoning Commission related to the city code.
Planning and zoning commission member Lee Bennett explained, “At the point we started revising Title 11, we discovered it was more than a decade out of date and almost 100 percent non-compliant with state law.
“So there was major work to do just to close that gap. In the process, we realized how difficult it was for both the public and the city to utilize Title 11 because it was higgledy piggledy. It wasn’t organized.”
The council was presented with a draft update to the code with red-colored text signifying state required changes and blue-colored text signifying suggested changes by the commission. Commission changes were recommended to make the code more organized.
“It’s our hope it’ll make it more understandable for the public and easier for the city to use to help with development within the city,” said Bennett.
Council members reviewed the code with plans to take possible action at the next city council meeting.
At the meeting, the council also discussed an update to the city garbage and refuse code.
City staff proposed updates to the garbage code, including language that garbage receptacles should be placed in designated areas by 7 a.m. on the designated trash collection day and removed from city streets by 7 a.m. the following day.
A proposed addition to the code included all garbage in receptacles be bagged to prevent scattering of litter throughout the city.
The code also recommends a $5 fine per day violations continue. The council reviewed the recommendations with an option to take action at a future meeting.
The council also discussed ways to address vacant businesses on Main Street. Council member Kim Henderson shared possible courses of action for the city looking at other cities in the state.
Some cities require registration of vacant properties with different fees assessed to properties that are hazardous. Some cities also charge lower fees for unoccupied buildings that maintain their appearances. 
Council members seemed interested in further discussion of the idea, noting that some policy could incentivize people to make their property look decent.
Henderson added “We’ve got a huge problem of people sitting on real estate, not just sitting on but not maintaining. It’s discouraging because it lowers the property values for neighboring businesses and I just hear so many people are like we’d start a business if we could lease. I’m confused why people own property and don’t do anything.”
Members of the council agreed to bring the discussion to a future work meeting.
Members of the council also voted to deny a variance application for a property at 416 N Main Street. The vote to deny the request to once again allow mobile homes on the property was denied due to fire safety concerns, but members of the council said they were open to having a discussion again.
At the September 12 meeting members of the council first discussed the variance request for the .36 acre lot. 
While the landowner previously had five mobile homes on cement pads, they later took them down. The landowner has since changed their plans and has listed the property for sale.
A potential buyer hopes to use the five water and sewer hookups and cement pads on the lot to once again house mobile homes.
However, changes in the city ordinance would require approval for the mobile homes to be placed.
Council learned at their previous meeting that the potential buyer has mobile homes ready to be moved from Moab to the property, however the city fire chief shared that the layout would require the units to be 40 feet in length or less if they were to fit five homes on the property. If the mobile homes did not fit the specifications, fire officials recommend only four be on the property.
Between meetings, city staff learned the trailers were 52, 54, 66, 67, and 67 feet in length. Members of the council unanimously denied the variance request to allow five mobile homes on the property. Council members are willing to revisit the issue with different arrangements.

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