Council meeting shorter than expected

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Below is the preliminary story that was printed in today’s MLN. Applicable changes or developments are printed here in red.

With Thanksgiving falling on a Thursday this year, as will Christmas and New Year’s Day, the Mesquite Local News published a day early, thus being too early for an accurate presentation of what happened at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting.

We would like to tell you it all went smoothly, but our crystal ball is still on back order. Be sure to check our website for our coverage of what did happen at the meeting. With the items on the agenda, the evening could have passed by quickly or turned into a marathon event. Either way, there is sure to be quite a bit of public comment. The meeting went surprisingly fast, with little opposition on any of the agenda items.  Council member Rich Green was absent from the meeting. 

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Police Chief, Troy Tanner, Left, receives a check from Rick McDonald from the Elks Lodge #2811 for the 2014 Shop With A Cop program. Photo by Stephanie Frehner.

Prior to the agenda items, a check for $1400 was presented to MPD Chief Troy Tanner from Rick McDonald of the Mesquite Elks Lodge #2811, funds that will go towards the Shop with a Cop event this year. The Elks will, as always, be providing for the participants after the event. 

What was scheduled for the evening ranged from agreements to business licenses.

City Staff formulated and presented the proposed dates for Technical Review and City Council Meetings in 2015. The full schedule is posted on our website as well. (This will be posted soon)

Larry LeMieux, a prominent community member and manager of the Mesquite Municipal Airport, was also on the agenda for a two-year extension of his Independent Contractor Agreement currently in place with the City. As in previous years, it is almost certain that this would be passed.

David Empey, Finance Director and City Treasurer, submitted a final report of reapportionment for the Anthem at Mesquite area. Several of the already existing parcels in that district have since been divided up and will be of no further financial burden to the City. The plan is another motion expected to pass without opposition.

Other easy business for the night included approving an audit report from Hinton Burdick, PLLC, for the City’s 2013-2014 financial report. This was presented by Mike Spilker, a partner at HintonBurdick who was in charge of the City’s audit… He noted that everything in their findings was good, with little to no discrepancies. 

There is an item that could generate public interest, however, and that is the rezoning of a parcel of land on East Mesquite Boulevard that could potentially extend Dairy Lane to the South and First South Street to the East. (Images of the exact location can be viewed on the MLN website). The rezoning would develop an approximate five acres next to the Hunter Park Baseball Fields, improving that area of town. Under the current zoning of RE-3, development would only yield five to seven lots, while the rezoning request of Single Family (SF) could yield between 10 and 14 lots. The area in question is within the 100 year flood plain. The owner, Razi Noor, wants to rezone to increase his return on investment while benefiting the City and their Master Plan of street development in the area. Without any objections from the community or council, staff has asked that it be approved as Resolution 845. The item was presented and offered up for public hearing, with no one contesting it. The motion passed to approve the rezoning 4 – 0.

The CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) was brought back to the dais for council approval, with a presentation by Bryan Dangerfield, the Director of Athletics & Leisure Services. Possible projects to satisfy the requirements by the CDBG were discussed, as the City looks to obtain a five-year $950,000 grant for improvements. Four main projects have been pulled as possibilities from a list of over 20: Rubberized Playground Projects, Pickleball Complex, Multipurpose Field on Hafen Lane, and a Skatepark with cement bowls and obstacles. Estimates for each range from $320,000 and $600,000, allowing for a cushion or smaller projects to be done as well. Public comment was opened for this item, with Terry Ogden, Comissioner of Utah Youth Soccer, voicing his opinions on the need for additional fields due to the massive growth of the soccer tournaments coming to Mesquite each year.  “We’re expecting over 360 teams this year over the course of three weekends. What Mesquite needs to know is that we out of acceptable playing fields… we have outgrown the area…” said Ogden.  Ogden also cited the St. George area’s recent developments of adding more fields. 

Blake Syndergaard, a Mesquite resident and current Chamber President also spoke in favor of the soccer fields, which would be, through the CDBG funds, a multi-purpose field on Hafen Lane, next to where the future splash pad will be built. (Side note: the splash pad is scheduled to be completed and operational by summer of 2015 according to Dangerfield.) Syndergaard also noted that Mesquite has one advantage: easy access. With the short radius from one side of town to the other, tournaments and the participants encounter less frustration with traffic and time in getting to the venues. 

The item passed unanimously, 4-0 in favor of the multi-purpose fields on Hafen Lane. 

Another zoning item was on the agenda for the Santa Theresa Estates off of Pulsipher Lane, asking for the approval in allowing a blanket variance for garage setbacks from the street on several properties. This item was a bit of a dark mark for the City, as staff had not caught the issue before the homes were built in the subdivision. While there is nothing that can be done about it now (moving the garages back on each property would not be efficient), the city passed the motion to approve the variance, so that current homeowners will not be penalized for having the shorter driveways, which may block the sidewalks of an over-sized vehicle is parked there.  

The most controversial item on Tuesday’s agenda, however, was the approval of Conditional Use Permit for Deep Roots Medical Production to set up and operate a Medical Marijuana Establishment and related practices at 195 Willis Carrier Canyon, Suite 400 in the Mesquite Technology and Commerce Center. The site is approximately five acres and has two pre-existing vacant warehouses that are approximately 40,000 square feet. This site will house three medical marijuana establishments: a cultivation facility, a production facility for edible and topical products and a dispensary. According to the agenda, this will have no on-going fiscal impact to the city from the application, although staff does expect to see a significant financial impact in the monies this will bring in through construction, employment, taxes and other revenues.

There were plenty of people in attendance Tuesday night, which led many to assume there would be continual opposition to the Medical Marijuana issues, even though council had passed the approval for it back in August. Shockingly, there was no opposition, other than from council member Kraig Hafen, who commented during the first of four items prior to voting, stating that he did not believe this is what Mesquite needed. In all four motions, Hafen was the lone nay vote, while each of the other three council members in attendance voted to approve the licenses. 

In a final public comment period, one of the owners of Deep Roots Medical Production, LLC spoke and said that the company is committed to proving that they will be beneficial to the community.  

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