Photo by Justus Visser
Cedar Fort streamlines building application process
Mayor David Gustin detailed how building permit approval had previously taken weeks and sometimes months to work through the Planning and Zoning Commission and Town Council for approval. The permits required approval from both bodies that only meet once a month, so applicants had to coordinate with the meeting schedules.
"We don't have to make the process so burdensome," Mayor Gustin said. He proposed that building permit approval be delegated to the town's designated building inspector Clint Carter, with oversight from the council member in charge of building permits, currently Ellen Cibula. Planning and Zoning Chairman, David Rose will be notified of the issuance of permits. With the new process, building permits would only come before the Town Council and Planning and Zoning Commission if a problem arose. Gustin said that the streamlined process would be clear, transparent and fair for everyone. The proposal passed.
Obtaining a culinary water hook-up in Cedar Fort has also been a lengthy, and often frustrating process that requires waiting for both state and town approval of water rights, purchasing water rights from an approved source and deeding them to the town for use in the town's well. Applicants could not obtain a building permit until they had approved water. During the meeting, Cedar Fort resident Lynette Groff detailed her on-going battle to get culinary water.
Mayor Gustin proposed that the town revise the culinary water connection ordinance to allow approval of culinary water hook-ups at the same time as residential building permits are issued. If applicants do not yet have state approval, they will be required to put up a security bond of 150% of the current market value of the 1.45 acre-feet of water required for a residence. Gustin said that the bond would adequately protect the town if the state denied the water approval. The town could then use the bond funds to purchase the required water and the applicant could still move forward with building. The water connection ordinance revision proposal passed unanimously.
Also under review at the January 23 meeting was the practice of having the entire town council approve all business licenses as a monthly meeting agenda item. The council voted unanimously to delegate the approval of business licenses to the council member over licenses, currently Ellen Cibula. Earlier in the meeting, the council approved a business license request for Mark Barratt for an individual home business, Northridge Engineering Services, LLC.
With a unanimous vote, the council approved the use of $2,500 from the professional services budget for an attorney to review and redraft the town's ordinances, beginning with land use ordinances. Mayor Gustin said that he is not suggesting that the ordinances require substantive changes, but that the language needs to be legally precise.
In other business, Mayor Gustin reviewed council assignments. Council member Ellen Cibula will manage licenses and building permits. Dee Harold Draper will be the council member overseeing the cemetery and grants. Wyatt Cook will oversee roads, the Cedar Fort/Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department and social media for the town. Richard Stark will continue to manage the budget, garbage collection and parks and recreation. Mayor David Gustin will oversee water and ordinances.
The town had previously posted notices to fill a vacancy for an alternate on the Planning and Zoning Commission and for the position of cemetery sexton. The council approved Chris Murphy's application as an alternate member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, then immediately voted to approve Murphy as a member of the commission to fill the vacancy left when Jason Davis resigned a few days prior to the January 23 meeting. The council voted unanimously to appoint Howard Anderson as Cedar Fort Cemetery sexton. Anderson was also approved as Owner's Representative for CDBG projects in the town park and community center that were started when Anderson served as mayor.
Mayor Gustin listed several contacts for town communications. Councilman Wyatt Cook will oversee the Cedar Fort's Facebook page. Steven Miller will serve as the town webmaster. Jason and Verlynn Cook will manage the mass notification system.
Harmony Withers requested on behalf of the Cedar Valley Activities Committee that the town set up a bank account for money collected from activities and fundraisers so that individual committee members are not responsible for the money. The proposal passed unanimously.
Council members also discussed changing the monthly meeting schedule to accommodate individual work schedules. They did not make a final decision on future meeting dates or times.
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Photo by: Justus Visser ©