Neighbors Object To Looser Lot Splitting Rules

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Should Payson make it hard on folks who want to sell their back yards?

Nah — let’s be loose, says Payson’s planning staff.

Nope: Let’s be sticklers, says the Payson Planning Commission.

Gee: Let’s think about it, says the Payson Town Council.

At least, that’s one way to read the proposal to loosen the rules on “flag lots,” created when the owner of a big lot divides it in two and provides access to the lot in back with a long, narrow driveway.

The question arose from one property owner’s request to split his big lot in two — with each lot big enough for a house under the residential zoning for the land.

The current zoning ordinance allows such a lot split providing there’s room for a 36-foot-long access road or driveway leading to the lot in the rear. But in this case, the lot was only big enough to allow for a 24-foot-wide driveway. So the property owner asked the town to change the rules in the building code.

Community Development Director Ray Erlandsen said he had no problem with the change — at least for flat lots where 24 feet was wide enough for a long driveway.

“I think it’s a reasonable request and there are lot of lots in town that would benefit,” said Erlandsen in recommending the change to the town council.

However, several neighbors objected.

Ralph Bossert said he didn’t object when his neighbor sought the town’s permission to put a mobile home for family members on the back part of their large lot, but would object to a lot split that would allow the construction of a whole new house.

“There isn’t a compelling reason to change the (building) code to skinny up the pole,” said Bossert, who normally appears before the council representing Tetra Tech, a local engineering firm. “I’m surprised the fire department didn’t object. People are going to start selling off their back yards because of the way the economy is.”

Gary Keller, another neighbor, also objected. He also said he didn’t object to the mobile home for a family member, but has changed his mind due to barking dogs and property line encroachments.

“I just don’t see how you can make a whole other property out of it,” said Keller.

Those objections convinced the planning commission to reject the proposed change on a unanimous vote in April.

The council took note without comment of all the comments at the first reading of the ordinance. The proposed change will have to come back for a second reading in front of the council before the council can actually vote on the code alterations.

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