Lagoon loves Farmington and Farmington loves Lagoon, if the comments made at a public hearing this week are any indication of the state of affairs between the city and the amusement park.
The hearing was held to air comments on proposed changes in the city's zoning ordinance, changes being made to accommodate Lagoon's long-range master plan.Residents who showed up praised Lagoon's management and operating philosophy, pointing out it employs 40 full-time workers and up to 200 part-time summer workers, most of them from Farmington.
Lagoon is a good neighbor and an asset to Farmington, Mayor Robert Arbuckle said, one which is concerned about the effect it has on the city. And, he added, revenue it generates accounts for 10 to 15 percent of Farmington's general fund budget.
City Manager Max Forbush said the zoning ordinances are being revised basically to accommodate Lagoon's new master plan, which includes a water recreation area and other changes.
The biggest change, he said, is in height restrictions. The ordinance currently restricts structure height to 85 feet, which includes buildings and amusement park rides.
The proposed ordinance still limits buildings to 85 feet but allows "amusement devices" to go up to 150 feet, or higher with permission from the city's planning commission.
The ordinance will allow construction of convenience stores on the Lagoon property "solely for use in connection with the operation of the amusement park and/or related facilities."
That means, the mayor said, a convenience store can be built only if it is designed to primarily serve the amusement park patrons. Lagoon already has two convenience stores, he said, one inside the park and one at the adjacent campground.
Lagoon officials who attended the hearing indicated they can work within the restrictions of the proposed ordinance, which governs everything from building heights and permitted uses to the number of parking spaces reserved for the handicapped.
City planner Bob Scott said all of the changes made in the ordinance deal directly with Lagoon because they govern uses of the C-R (commercial recreation) zone and Lagoon is the only property in Farmington with that zoning designation.
The council approved the proposed revisions, but Forbush said the changes will not go into effect immediately. A new ordinance with the changes written into it will have to be written and formally approved, he said.