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Headlines Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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Standing room only

South Willard resident Helen Pettingill speaks to the Box Elder Planning Commission, laying out her opposition to a proposed re-zone for another gravel pit in South Willard.

By Nelson Phillips
Staff Writer

In a three-hour, standing room only meeting Thursday night at the county courthouse, the Box Elder County Planning Commission voted to recommend that the Box Elder County Commission deny a developer’s request to re-zone a South Willard parcel of land to allow for rock mining.
The planning commission is only an advisory body to the county commission, which has the ultimate decision-making authority, but its recommendations carry heavy influence.
More than 150 people crowded into the commission chambers, filling every seat available, with dozens standing against walls and even more in the hallway, the majority of which were there to oppose the gravel pit and a rumored asphalt plant on the property in the northeast corner of South Willard and on the border with Willard City.
The public response was galvanized by an online social media campaign organized by Barney and Della Barnett, owners of Willard Bay Gardens, a plant nursery business located near the 34.73 acre parcel where the pit and proposed asphalt plant would sit, as well as Jim Johnson, a South Willard homeowner who lives two houses from the nursery. Johnson and the Barnetts are greatly concerned that the dust from a rock quarry and the smells and residue of an asphalt plant would become a nuisance and health hazard to nearby residents, as well as annoy customers, harm plants and put Willard Bay Gardens out of business.
In an interview on Tuesday, March 14, Aaron Robertson, owner of Blue Ox Development, the parent company of Lumberjack Quarry L.L.C., which owns the parcel, said concerns about an asphalt plant were unfounded.
“I can tell you nothing is going on with an asphalt plant, I’m not sure where that came from,” said Robertson. “We’re trying to grade out some of that property, it’s a hilly situation over there. We’re looking at grading the property for potential future development.”
According to Johnson, and verified by information provided by Box Elder County, a lease was signed in January addressing the property.

Brigham City Council has big conflict with ‘Big Future’

By Nelson Phillips
Staff Writer

Updating Brigham City’s general plan, titled “Big Future,” has been a slow work-in-progress, with discussions and debates—sometimes heated—going on for the past 18 months.
And Thursday night’s city council meeting, where the council was considering an ordinance to adopt the plan, was no exception. From the beginning of the meeting, the legality of adopting such a plan as an ordinance was brought into question by one citizen during public comments, while another urged the council to put each aspect of the plan on the ballot in November so more citizens could have their say on future spending.
There was friction between council members over some of the wording used in the document draft; who should, and who wasn’t, making changes; and even what points were being included at all. The frustration levels rose as the meeting progressed, ending with a tearful defense of posts on one councilmember’s Facebook page.

Mosquito season predicted to be harsh

By Nelson Phillips
Staff Writer

If you think flooded basements and fields have been the only bad effects of this year’s record amount of snowfall, think again. Another issue is lurking in the waterlogged Bear River Valley, a particularly annoying one that drives people crazy: mosquitoes.
“This year’s going to be horrible, with all this extra water that we’ve got,” said Randy Sessions, director of the Box Elder County Mosquito Abatement District. “It’s going to be waging a war against some staggering odds.”
Sessions said that Box Elder County has 1,000 square miles that his office regularly patrols, which is difficult enough in a normal year. This year, with flood waters all over the valley, he anticipates “enormous broods” of mosquitoes hatching, the likes of which haven’t been seen in years.
“We’re in a situation where one hoof print from cattle or horses that fills with water can hatch up to 200 mosquitoes, and an acre of standing water can produce 10 million,” he continued. “And every time an area is flooded again, it has to be re-treated.”

News Briefs

Brigham City cemetery clean-up
Spring cleanup at Brigham City Cemetery in preparation for the Easter holiday will begin on Monday, March 27.
All flowers and decorations not in permanent containers and those in such containers that are wilted, damaged or faded will be removed. Any and all Christmas decorations (including poinsettias) will be removed.
All removed decorations will be taken to the county landfill. Those wishing to reclaim decorations may do so prior to the cleanup. Anyone removing decorations from plots not belonging to them will be considered as theft of property and is punishable under law as a class b misdemeanor.
Those decorating for spring or for the rest of the year should wait until cleanup is complete. All flowers, real or artificial, must be placed in a container or attached to the monument. Flowers in moveable containers must be placed on the headstone to allow for lawn maintenance. Flowers properly displayed are allowed throughout the year.
To protect maintenance workers and cemetery visitors, absolutely no glass containers are permitted, nor are any objects such as wire, iron (shepherd hooks), sticks, or pegs driven into the ground. These arrangements will be removed immediately upon discovery.
For more information call 435-723-5813.

Applications accepted for Farmers Market
The Brigham City Farmers Market is now accepting applications for vendors. The market will operate each Saturday morning from June 17 to September 30.
Vendors may vend once or all season for $5 per day.
Applications are available at 95 South Main Street or at www.historicbrigham.org/farmersmarket.