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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Porterville Residents Fight Rezone

Excerpts From the Standard Examiner May 8, 2006

Proposed development causes concerns

BY DEANNE WINTERTON Standard-Examiner correspondent

MORGAN — Morgan County’s development boom is attempting to stretch its fingers into sleepy Porterville, and residents are fighting the negative effects it may have on their property.

At Tuesday’s Morgan County Council meeting, landowner Robert Wingate sought to rezone 66 acres so he can build 17 5-acre lots on Red Hawk Ranch near 3570 S. Highway 66.

However, the council voted to send the action back to the Planning Commission in hopes the commission will reconvene the Porterville area plan committee.

Does the Morgan County Council actually listen to its citizens? And do their citizens actually speak up?

Residents living near the proposed development, some of whom have shallow wells, are hesitant to allow construction of the new lots, which would use individual wells and septic tanks. The concept plan also calls for an equestrian trail.

Chet Adams is concerned that the plan also calls for a park near his farm where he slaughters about 35 animals each year.

“People moving from urban areas don’t like to see animals slaughtered,” said Adams, who has lived in the area for about 48 years.

Craig Taylor, who owns land south of the proposed development, also objects to the project, saying, “A man’s entitled to sell his ground to make a profit, but this will set a precedent for this area without forethought that will shape other options of other landowners, defining future use of our property.”

Michelle Peterson, who lives at 3400 S. Highway 66, is equally concerned about water quality if the development proceeds. “If they have to dig wells, what happens to the existing wells?” she said. “I have a shallow, handdug grand-daddy well. I would like to keep my family healthy. If my well does go bad, who will help me take care of it?”

Kenneth G. Adams, who also uses a well in the area, called for reconvening the Porterville committee. “Our battle is not with Wingate, but with the proposal that could change the very face of our community,” he said.

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