At the City Council meeting Wednesday night, tempers flared and there appears to have been confusion.
There were multiple items on the agenda, however, there were initially three items of great concern to the citizens of Page.
SALE OF 860 ACRES; SOUTH OF TUNNEL ROAD
First, there was what the outcome would be regarding the sale of 860 acres next to Wal-Mart. Representatives from 1212 Development out of Las Vegas, Cory Foulk, Principal Architect, and three others, were present to speak and provide an understanding of their plans for the proposed development. Throughout the discussion, it came to light that there may not be enough water to meet the demands of both the development and the City of Page. Thus, a water study would have to be conducted.
The Council met in executive session to discuss the future of the proposed plan, and the results of that are officially unknown. Upon exiting executive session, the City Council voted for the decision agreed upon in executive session, which was not stated to the public. However, a source requesting to remain anonymous, spoke with LPNN and stated that the City Council voted to not move forward with the sale of the 860 acres to 1212 Development (LPNN has yet to verify this statement with the City of Page).
PROPOSED LIGHTING ORDINANCE
The second issue close to the hearts of the citizens of Page was that of the proposed lighting ordinance. Several members of the public spoke on this issue, and one had a statement requesting another public hearing. Due to this request, the issue of the lighting ordinance was tabled until a public hearing could be scheduled in front of the City Council.
LPNN spoke with the City Attorney regarding this turn of events, and was informed that per ARS 9-462.04(D) if a citizen, member of council, or the party directly affected by the ordinance requests a public hearing after a zoning ordinance has been submitted by the Planning and Zoning Commission to the City Council for review and adoption, it is required that a second public hearing be held in front of the City Council. This is even if there was a public hearing regarding the ordinance in front of the Planning and Zoning Commission. LPNN was informed that this procedure is for zoning ordinances only, and not any other type of proposal.
BUSINESS SIGNS IN BLOCK 17
The third matter discussed, close to the heart of many Page citizens was that of business signs throughout Block 17.
Kim Johnson, City of Page’s Community Development Director, stated in the meeting that she was looking for guidance from the City Council on how to instruct staff on answering questions from business owners regarding where they can place advertising within Block 17. One business in particular was singled out due to a photo that was added to the City Council’s agenda. Because the photo showed the business’s name, Council-member Levi Tappan asked if the business owners had been informed that they were on the agenda. Ms. Johnson claimed that they had.
Confusion ensued regarding this topic, and the discussion moved from business signs on the sidewalk and in the public right-of-way, to signs in the parking lot, followed by where the City’s and business owner’s property lines within Block 17 are. Council-member Warner asked to seek legal counsel regarding what the City’s liability is regarding the issue brought forth by Ms. Johnson.
Upon follow-up, LPNN learned that the City Attorney currently has not heard from Council-member Warner regarding exactly what he meant about the City’s liability in this instance, and is awaiting further clarification.
Upon completion of Ms. Johnson’s statement and request to the City Council, the business owner spoke. The business owner stated that neither they, nor any representative of their business, had been approached by the City regarding being on the City Council’s agenda; and the only reason that they knew they were placed on the agenda, was because a concerned citizen had gone out of their way to inform them.
The business owner then informed the City Council regarding the numerous times the City had notified them of violations regarding sign placement, and that each time the business complied with each request. The business owner also stated that there had been no notification from the City regarding the sign/advertisement within the parking lot being on the agenda.
The business owner also stated that they had been trying to work with the City regarding obtaining permits for the sign in question, yet the City had failed to follow-up with the business owner pertaining to the permit request, as the business owner was informed the City would do.
After multiple attempts to contact the owner to obtain their interpretation of the events in question, LPNN was unable to reach the business owner in time for this article.
LPNN followed up with Ms. Johnson regarding the issue of business signs within the parking lot of Block 17, and spoke with her at length about what the issue was she was attempting to address during the City Council meeting. According to Ms. Johnson, this was not a direct attack on any specific business, but was in fact, “a broader issue” in an attempt to obtain information from City Council regarding how to handle businesses that place signs within the parking lot. There is currently no policy or procedure in place, and approval or disapproval of signs by the City has been done haphazardly throughout the years.
Ms. Johnson is seeking to make the process more understandable for both business owners and the City. The issue boils down to the fact that while the City owns the parking lot, it is still a public area for public use. When it pertains to vendors utilizing the parking lot to conduct business, there are clear-cut instructions for the Community Development Department and business owners to follow; however, that direction is lacking for those business owners who choose to increase their visibility by placing signs throughout the parking lot of Block 17 in an attempt to attract more customers.
Ms. Johnson’s goal is to get the City Council to decide how they want to handle situations like this. Some of Ms. Johnson’s questions for the City Council include: does the City want to lease the spot(s) business owners want to utilize? Does the City Council want to just let business owners place their signs in designated areas throughout the parking lot of Block 17? Does the City Council want to require a conditional use permit? Or does the City Council have any other thoughts or ideas in mind in order to make the process more user friendly for both sides.
The Live Broadcast of The City Council Meeting Was Recorded And Can Be Seen Here
Part 1 Special Meeting
Part 2 Regular Meeting
Part 3 After Executive Session
Part 4 After Second Executive Session