After a nearly three-hour meeting and an executive session on Thursday evening, members of the Cache County Board of Adjustments voted to remand the matter of the conditional use permit for a private airstrip in Mendon to the Land Use Authority for more information.
“We don’t have adequate findings in support of their conclusion,” said board member Leslie Larson.
When the Land Use Authority, which is comprised of the Cache County Planning Commission members, provides this information, the board will meet again to make a decision on the appeal regarding the commission’s decision not to revoke the conditional use permit for Rachel and Nathan Holyoak’s private airstrip in Mendon.
The decision to uphold the permit was made at a commission meeting earlier this year where public comment was not allowed. Through their attorney Dan Dygert, a group of the Holyoaks’ neighbors appealed the decision for a chance to state their case.
“There are multiple reasons why this permit is null and void, why it has been violated and why it should be revoked,” Dygert said during Thursday’s meeting.
In 2016, the Holyoaks applied for a conditional use permit for their airstrip after a county ordinance was passed requiring it. According to Rachel Holyoak, no permits were required for private airstrips in Cache County until 2015, when at the request of their neighbors, she and her husband helped officials pass an ordinance.
“We felt like we want to be good neighbors, and if the neighbors want us to go through a process, we can do that,” Holyoak said in an interview with The Herald Journal in July.
One of the conditions of this permit was that “substantial work” be done on the runway within 12 months of its issuance. Because the airstrip had been used before the permit, Holyoak said the only work that needed to be done was Federal Aviation Administration and Cache County paperwork.
However, Dygert argued this does not qualify as substantial work.
In addition to this issue, there are other reasons the permit is invalid, Dygert said, but the board members said defining ‘substantial work’ is the only part of his argument relevant to their decision.
Planning Manager Chris Harrlid, who is representing the county’s side on the issue, said the board had been provided with all the information as to why the Planning Commission believed substantial work had been done, but board members said they wanted a clearer, more concise summary.
“I want it summarized and cited,” Larsen said. “It feels more balanced and fair if it’s cited and we make that determination.”
Once the members of the land-use authority provide this information, another meeting of the board will be scheduled to vote on the issue.