Farmington land use talks continue

FARMINGTON — The Planning Commission will not rush approving a land use plan, Chairman Robert Mann told members during a work session last week.

Mann said a public hearing on a draft plan on May 24 “got out of hand,” and he wanted to keep discussion during the work session on task.

Mayor Ernie Penn, who attended the June 7 work session, agreed with Mann.

“If it takes you five more meetings to get what you want, that’s what it takes,” Penn said. “It was chaos the last time you had a meeting.”

Penn said he didn’t want commission members to feel there is any undue pressure to approve a land use plan as soon as possible.

Once the commission is ready with a plan, it will hold another public hearing. When the commission finally approves a plan, the document will next have to go before the City Council to be adopted.

Melissa McCarville, city business manager, said the commission should figure out what everyone agrees on and then look at what they don’t agree on and decide how to make it palpable to everyone.

Sarah Geurtz, landscape architect with Earthplan Design Alternatives of Springdale, handed out land use categories and went through each one to get a consensus on the definition of the category and show what zoning designations would fit into that land use.

Categories and definitions were agreed upon at the meeting. Geurtz said she would make the changes based on the discussion and bring that back to the commission for additional comments and any changes at the next work session.

The categories include:

• Agriculture: areas used primarily for the raising of crops or livestock. Single-family homes are allowed in agriculture with a minimum lot size of 2 acres and a limit of one unit per two acres.

• Public: Areas used for government buildings and services, schools, educational institutes, cultural facilities and parks.

• Rural Residential: Areas including detached single-family residential homes on larger lots. Potential zones for this would be RE-1 (residential estates) and RE-2.

• Medium Residential: This is a new category agreed upon at the work session with higher density than rural residential. The commission said R-1 zones (single-family lots with a minimum of 10,000 square feet) would be appropriate for medium residential. An example is Southwinds Subdivision.

• Urban Residential: Residential areas of higher density. Homes in this category could range from single-family homes to multi-family structures. These residential areas are often located closer to commercial areas. Potential zoning classifications would be R-3 (single-family, zero-lot-line), MF-1, MF-2 and MHP or mobile home park.

• Neighborhood Services: This category provides areas for conducting commerce and personal services that serve residents primarily within the city, instead of in the region. One zone for this area could be R-O, residential office, which would allow the possibility of commercial on the bottom floor with living space, such as apartments, on the second floor. Another possible use was allowing a C-1 zone (general commercial) in the Neighborhood Services land use. Examples include attorney or accountant offices or churches.

• Highway Commercial: This category provides areas for conducting commerce and personal services. It is designed to accommodate commercial activities easily accessible by a highway or major street. Examples included retail, fast food restaurants, big box stores. Potential zoning categories would be C-1 and C-2 (highway commercial).

The commission discussed whether to have a land use for industry in the future land use map and decided to just keep industry as a zoning classification but not include it on the land use map.

Commission member Keith Macedo said he was leery of having an industry-specific area on the land use map.

Mann said he thinks the city should discuss industry if it comes up as a rezoning request. For now, the city does not have any land zoned as industrial.

The next work session will be 6 p.m., June 21 at City Hall.

Lynn Kutter may be reached by email at

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