The most recent Dayton City Council meeting began with the approval of a new council member. Zane Hendrickson will be taking over the council seat that was vacated by Reid Olsen back in June. He will officially begin next month as that night he had a previous engagement and left shortly after taking his oath.
The next issue on the agenda was what seems to have had the entire community buzzing for the past month — chickens.
The number of chickens allowed is 15 for a half-acre property or 25 for a full acre. When asked why these specific numbers of chickens, Jay Nielsen, the city’s planning consultant, said that those numbers were based off of other city’s numbers for their own chicken problems.
The changes proposed to the amendment were sent out in last month’s water bill for review. Several members of the community came to the meeting with their own concerns about the changes affecting them in the future.
First was Faye Reeves, who was concerned about the pasture area in front of her house where a couple of horses are currently housed and grazing, since in the proposed edits she presumed that pasture would be against code. As a possible solution, Nielsen suggested adding a corral clause to the code. Jackie Corbridge suggested a footage requirement. Colton England suggested a formula or ratio be used to determine how much space in front of a house could be used for housing livestock animals and various fowl.
Marilyn Creager was focused more on the actual containment of the animals than where that containment takes place on the property. She suggested that the reference to fencing in section F be made more general such as confinement or enclosure.
As for chickens specifically, Jarra Baird brought up the problem with the rooster ban as many people buy their egg-laying chickens when they themselves are still fluffy little chicks. The council did decide to strike that specification from the proposed changes due to that fact, and that Dayton is an agricultural community, and finally that they aren’t going to please everybody so some people are just going to have to get used to a little extra crowing from their neighbors’ coop.
Aaron Beutler took that opportunity to chime in with an anecdote from his time as mayor when he got several complaints from an undisclosed family about their neighbor’s chickens, they have since moved out of the area.
Noise was a big part of the discussion with people bringing up braying donkeys and shrieking peacocks. The council did emphasize that the keeping of any animal for commercial purposes (ex. their eggs, their young, etc.) would still require a Class 2 permit.
In the end, the conversation was tabled but the council has several irons in their fires to work on before next month’s meeting. The council is currently planning on allowing residential lots of one acre or more to have designated corral space. Roosters will remain unbanned, mostly because they can’t reasonably stop it. This code amendment doesn’t handle things such as dog breeding; that is managed elsewhere in the code. Finally, pheasants have been added to the list of approved fowl.
Also included in August’s water bills was the new Appendix H, covering vendor and merchant behavior in the city limits. These include, but are not limited to: operating hours being no more than from 9 a.m. to dusk; trash and grey water storage and removal; what signs are permitted; cleanliness standards; safety; traffic flow; floor area and height; restrooms; and generally not being a strain on the community.
Colton England, the man who sparked this idea, was there to share some of his research. First, the council told him that there couldn’t be an overhead power connection for his business as that would legally make it a permanent structure, which are currently on hold in Dayton pending more water becoming available. This leaves him with two options: get a generator, or hook in through HK Auto and chip in on their power bill.
He also told the council that he has to jump through some hoops with the health department as well concerning things such as restrooms being more than just a permanent Porta Potty, and they can’t serve sandwiches since the bread, meat and cheese are all considered perishable. So for a few months they’ll be more of a convenience store than a restaurant while they figure things out to do sandwiches.
Next was the comprehensive plan for Dayton’s future. Nielsen stressed once again the need for the city to streamline and solidify their entire codes before a large developer turns up. He estimated that the whole process would take a little over a year, with the council meeting to review specific sections for a couple hours every month.
After showing the index of various nearby communities that all look almost identical in their structure, he advised the council to locate the original documents and build from there. He told the council about the 300-page book that the example communities all started with and suggested that Dayton get out their own copy. There was a moment of silence before somebody asked him what the heck he was talking about.
Jennifer Sage, the city clerk, told him she had familiarized herself with almost all the files in the main office and hadn’t found such a book, though she couldn’t discount its existence entirely since no one has strongly felt the urge to brave the dusty storage space above the office itself and find out.
And finally to the “boring” stuff (pun intended), the wells. First, the bad news — the test well by the football field is no good. They drilled down 415 feet and ran into blue clay the last 200 feet of it, which is exceptionally fine sediment leftover from when Lake Bonneville still existed. Typically water found below thick blue clay tends to be of low water quality due to an oxygen-reducing environment caused by a high iron and manganese content that exceeds the standards set for drinking water.
Finding high-quality drinking water on the West Side is a challenge. Many wells west of the canal are located in the Salt Lake Formation, which produces low-yielding water and typically has high iron content. This extra iron, aside from discoloring anything it touches, quite literally leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
The one exception to this has been the area located directly at the outlet to Five Mile Canyon. According to the geologist’s theory, when Five Mile Creek was created it placed a lot of gravel in the surrounding area which filters the groundwater, especially on the east side of the fault that runs perpendicular to it.
Now for the good news: the test well up by the park is looking promising. They are expecting around 300-1,000 gallons per minute out of it, so good, but not enough to replace the full water right on the failed well. The overall goal is to get two wells with equal flow that can back each other up, which means the council is exploring several potential areas for another test well.
Councilman Stacy Moser took that moment to worry aloud that by putting all the wells in the same location they could be draining the aquifer faster than it could refill, citing the Snake River aquifer that is currently being refilled by pumping water out of the river underground.
Aaron did give a rundown of other high-productivity wells in the area. First was one up on the northern border of city boundaries near the west side highway. It’s a hot spring, loaded with sulfur (who wants to smell like rotten eggs?) Next was a well east of the railroad tracks near 3200 West that has elevated levels of iron and magnesium (orange toilet bowls anyone?) And last was a well on the southern border of city boundaries near Highway 36. It hasn’t been tested, but according to rumor it has hot water and is 200 feet deep with nitrate and iron problems, which are more commonly found in the more shallow depths. The price tag for buying a fully established well would be more than drilling for a new one.
Speaking of prices, Aaron took a moment to discuss the charges Well Equipped LLC of Ucon, Idaho has charged the city so far. A third test well will cost approximately $70,000 and he urged the council to save money by getting the drilling done before winter sets in, by late October to early November. The reason for this is that the driller and his equipment are all in the area, he has to drill a well in Bear Lake and the fee to get him back from that location will already be $15,000. That is on top of the $273,000 the city paid to get him here.
If that sounds like a lot, it is, but part of that cost is a show of good faith from the city to the driller as other municipal well jobs cancelled on him after he had arrived on site, taking their funding with them. Aaron feels comfortable that with Well Equipped knowing the city’s situation they can be persuaded to come back for significantly less, but still not as little as $15,000.
There was talk of simply re-drilling in the location of the 1993 well that failed. It is located at the east corner of 4900 West and 5 Mile Road. Its flow rate has reduced from 1,200 gpm to 250 gpm. The failure was due to a tear in the well casing that has been repaired, but the previous flow was not and cannot be recovered without re-drilling. This has left the current combined flow from all water sources at only 545 gpm, meaning an additional well or wells must be drilled to retain the city’s current licensed right of 1,521 gpm.