The Farmington City Council approved the plan for a temporary business location at the intersection of Janey Drive and Potosi Street at their regular session held Monday evening at Long Memorial Hall.
At the previous session, the council held a public hearing on an application for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) at 713 Janey Drive that is currently zoned R-3: Single-Family Residential. Rafi Kthiri of Rafi’s Lawn Service has asked for a temporary commercial use of part of the property for his business until he makes other arrangements at a different location. Several residents in the area had recently voiced objections to the plan.
At the previous meeting, Kthiri said that he is just asking permission to just operate the business out of the residential area for just a little while.
“I don’t want to be there forever, and I can’t,” he said. “We are going to be there for three to four years and then we are out of there because we are going to need a bigger place anyway. As far as traffic, we not going to have any traffic whatsoever. The gate faces Potosi Street. Janey Street, we’ll not even use it.”
The plan calls for installing evergreen trees all around the lot, so that neighbors will have privacy.
Since the last meeting the ordinance had two modifications. The PUD will have a sunset (expiration) provision of five years from its passage, and a clause was added to restrict parking for employees to a fenced-in area on the property.
Mayor Larry Forsythe asked Kthiri if he was satisfied with the changes made to the ordinance.
“It is what it is,” Kthiri said. “However, if the neighbors don’t have any problem with me, why do we have to put a limit on it?”
Councilor Vanessa Pegram interjected, “The big concern was that if you someday leave that area and sell it, is it tied to the ownership? I think we worried somebody else came in after you that wasn’t as responsible and then the neighbors would be upset.”
Development Services Director Tim Porter noted that the PUD would transfer to the new owner if Kthiri were to sell the property. The new owner could then use it for lawn care service.
“However, with this revision there are a couple of things to note,” Porter said. “…It is a sunset clause that limits it to five years, but Mr. Kthiri does reserve the right to …ask for a revision to the PUD to extend that.”
Councilor Edward Felker noted that at the last meeting there were some nearby residents who objected to the planned use and that Kthiri did not object to a sunset clause.
Kthiri agreed, however he still questioned the insertion of the clause.
Felker then asked what kind of challenge it would be for Kthiri to have the PUD modified at the end of the five years.
“The change to the PUD would require a similar process,” Porter stated. “The problem as a city that we generally face with properties like this that are on the edge of commercial and residential, is where is that balance to allow for progress as well as preserve the integrity of the residential neighborhood.
"I do understand Mr. Kthiri’s plight, he has had to go through this a couple of different times, this seems to be something that Administrative Services Committee asked to be added based upon the feedback that they were receiving from their constituents.”
After more discussion, City Attorney Scott Reid noted that the only thing that could be approved at the meeting was the ordinance on the agenda that included the time limit and parking restriction.
“If you ask the council to table it and reconsider it, they can,” he said. “But the only thing they can vote on tonight is the way it is written right now.”
The ordinance passed with Councilor Tom Joyce voting in opposition.
Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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