The Tremonton City Council will send a representative to sit in on the meetings of a committee that helps make land use decisions within city limits.
The Tremonton Development Review Committee is a panel that reviews land use applications received by the city and makes recommendations to the council whether to approve, modify or deny those applications.
The review committee meets on a weekly basis as needed to go over applications. Its membership includes Public Works Director Paul Fulgham, City Manager Shawn Warnke, Community Services Director Marc Christensen, and City Engineer Chris Breinholt.
The committee has some authority to approve or deny applications, but only by applying existing codes and development standards approved by the council and city planning commission. Final legislative decisions still rest with the city council.
During a work session on Tuesday, July 2, the council and city staff had a lengthy discussion about the possibility of a councilmember joining the committee, either as a liaison between the group and the council, or even as a voting member.
Mayor Roger Fridal said councilmembers have talked about someone from the council participating on a rotating basis, with different members taking turns sitting in on the meetings, “just to show our support for this group and do what we need to do.”
Some councilmembers said it would be good to have someone from the council present as a good-faith sign that the city is open and willing to work with real estate developers and other business interests.
“It shows our interest in them wanting to come to town, or at least entertain listening to them,” Councilmember Bret Rohde said.
Councilmember Lyle Vance said the Development Review Committee plays an important role in applying codes and standards to development in the city, but having someone from the council present would also help serve as a kind of sales pitch to bring more business in.
Vance said it would be a good move at a time when Tremonton is losing potential businesses to other communities nearby.
“You can just feel what’s going on. There’s a siphon, a shift going on, which is a natural thing,” Vance said. “Somehow we’ve got to make it a warmer, fuzzier thing when a group comes in to begin with, when they’re just introducing their idea to Tremonton city. We need to be more welcoming.”
Fulgham said he would like to see a councilmember join as a voting member of the committee “because then you are tied into the decisions,” but the council decided not to go that far, at least initially, after some expressed concern about exerting too much pressure on the committee.
“I recommend you start attending, then if you feel like we need to make changes, you can become a voting member,” Warnke said. “Having that element of reaching out (to developers and businesses), encouraging them, letting them feel welcome is certainly something I think would be appropriate.”
Councilmember Jeff Reese said the committee has been accommodating and needs to have the freedom to do its job, but echoed the sentiment that having a councilmember at the meetings as a non-voting member would send a good message.
“We’ve got to be accommodating,” Reese said. “You guys (the committee) are enforcing the rules and we have to do that, but it’s welcoming, and that’s what a city councilperson can do.”