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Farmington loosens residency requirement for city workers

FARMINGTON — The City Council took action Thursday evening to loosen the residency requirement for most city employees, although the actual passage of the written resolution will not happen until at least the next meeting.

The council work session began with Mayor Stuart “Mit” Landrum presenting a proclamation for Camp Hope, the getaway created by Mike White to honor his Marine son, Chris Neal, who was killed while fighting in Afghanistan. Camp Hope offers outdoor opportunities for war-injured soldiers. Wounded veterans can hunt, fish or enjoy other outdoor pursuits free of charge and with the help of a group of volunteers. Landrum talked about how Camp Hope has earned numerous recognitions and support from local, state and national veterans groups.

With the proclamation delivered, business turned to a public hearing and the short agenda. First up was a discussion regarding the Final Subdivision Record Plat for Willow Vail Estates II Subdivision, an ongoing development in the area of Potosi Street and Weber Road. The request had been made by Taylor Engineering on behalf of S and S Cabinets, Inc., whose owners also own the development.

City planner Tim Barnes explained that the property owners intend to consolidate four lots into one and then build four duplexes on the land. The units would be similar to a sizable residential neighborhood the couple have built over the past several years.

The only member of the public to speak up about the plan was Mark Dotson, a former city councilman who lives off Weber Road adjacent to the lots in question. He told the council he was in favor of the project, but was concerned about the entrance into the planned development and future issues with stormwater runoff. He said he was also concerned with the speed of traffic on Weber Road in recent years.

He went on to suggest a stop sign be placed at the exit of the new duplexes to help control traffic pulling onto the busy road. He said he had spoken with Barnes about the stormwater concerns. Finally, he asked that the city consider having the police department work more traffic control along that stretch of Weber.

The next matter to be taken up was the proposed change of residency requirement for most city employees. At this point the city administrator, public works director and police chief are all required to live within the city limits. The fire chief and firemen must live within five miles of the fire station. Other city workers must live within the boundaries of the Farmington R-7 School District.

A change had been proposed to remove the school district boundary requirement for all employees, not including firemen and the three department heads who must live within the city. It was said that a city employee can live near Womack, some 19 air miles southeast of the city limits, and still be in the Farmington R-7 district, but could be limited to only a few miles to the north.

The group gave a voice vote in favor of the requirement change, but will take up the matter with a formal written resolution at a later time.

City Administrator Greg Beavers explained how the city will be partnering with the county’s government to install a sprinkler system on the courthouse square. He also said a decision has been made to divert about $160,000 planned for remodeling the basement at city hall to sewer improvements in the downtown area.

The last order of business was to vote on a few issues first introduced in September. The first establishes tables governing the weight of large trucks, which will be limited in the downtown area to local deliveries only. Next the council will create a list of which streets should be restricted areas.

The second bill, approved unanimously, added 904 West Columbia Street to the city’s registry of “Farmington Historic Property.”

Third, the council amended the way the city’s Historic Preservation Committee is structured, adding the opportunity to vote for two previously ex-officio members and allowing the mayor to sit on the committee at his discretion.

The final two items on the agenda for the evening are new legislation pertaining to the earlier Willow Vail Estates II public hearing and a plan for the city to purchase a piece of property. The property purchase agreement was for .93 acres of land along KREI Boulevard at a cost of $25,500. The land will be used for a stormwater retention pond in coming months.

The council will meet next on Oct. 22 at 6:30 p.m.

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