A request by a gravel company to build an asphalt and concrete batch plant in this rural community has spurred the town Planning Commission to look at a larger issue: how it wants the town to grow.
But the opinions it received from residents Thursday was limited. Less than a dozen attended the meeting.Most, but not all of the residents who voiced an opinion opposed the plant and gravel pit in their neighborhood. The site is on the east side of 800 East about a mile north of U-6.
The town would gain $25,000 a year in impact fees and 10 cents a ton for the material leaving the property. The first year Staker estimates that would be 400,000 tons. That would grow each year until the fifth year when 1 million tons would be extracted.
Two members each from the commission and Town Council have been quietly meeting since May to discuss the proposal and the zone that would have to be created to allow the business.
That appeared to miff local resident and area justice court Judge Tim Haveron. He said he knew nothing about the proposal until this week. The request for a zone change was submitted a month ago, officials said.
Before the request can be approved officials must first pass a new zoning ordinance to allow it. Genola has only one zone now - agriculture.
But Staker Paving and Construction Co. Inc. of North Salt Lake has already acquired leased mining rights on about 120 acres owned by George Chaffin, said Lloyd La-Fe-ver, chief operations officer.
The land is almost surrounded by producing orchards, leaving owners concerned about the dust from the mining and crushing activities and dust mites that could harm their fruit. The company could expand into neighboring Bureau of Land Management land, LaFever said.
Earlier Valley Asphalt tried to come into the town, but when it was rebuffed it opened a gravel pit nearby in the county.
LaFever indicated Staker Paving had already worked deals with some landowners to build a road across their land to haul the gravel products to U-6, which connects to I-15. He said the company planned to build a berm around much of the site and landscape it to keep down the noise and dust. But that didn't seem to satisfy the few vocal residents in attendance.
The commission agreed it wanted more opinions from residents and chairman Emily Clinger suggested that information meetings be held to allow residents to voice those opinions.
"I'd like to hear how this would affect us," Commissioner Ganene Thomas said.
The site is now brush and weeds, but Sherryl Fowlers said the area to her is beautiful. "I can see residences and parks along that hill instead of a gravel pit," she said.
Commissioner Cleo Carter said the commission needs to decide if it wants to protect agriculture or grow in a different direction. The minimum lot size in Genola is typically five acres, although some residents have lots smaller than that. A five-acre lot doesn't protect agriculture and development costs the town money, Carter said.
The apparent trend is to split the land into five-acre ranchettes where people can build expensive homes. The commission earlier recommended a housing element of the general plan to the Town Council that typifies a moderate income house as $123,000 to build. But residents disputed that because of the high cost of land.