Dear Residents of South Weber,
I have really enjoyed speaking with many of you recently and appreciate opportunities to listen to your opinions as well as your concerns. Please understand that our City is trying to get the facts and correct information out to you as quickly as we can.
Today I would like to address the concerns of some over the Planning Commission, and in particular, Tim Grubb. Some have stated that they would like to see Tim removed from the Commission. They are unhappy with some of his body language, his opinion on rooftops, and his involvement in development within the City.
I understand that a roll-of-the-eyes and other types of negative body language can be very offensive to a citizen or group of citizens who are very passionate and sincere regarding concerns they are expressing in public comment. Gestures of this nature are inappropriate, and the City does not support or condone them. Tim has since apologized to those individuals. I have spoken with Tim and he is sincerely sorry for his gestures to those in attendance at that meeting.
Some have expressed their indignance at Tim’s comment that he loves rooftops. Do we not all have opinions on housing for South Weber? Are all of those opinions exactly the same? Are certain opinions good or bad? Smart or stupid? No. There are countless varying opinions of residents in this City and they are all valid, and, though we might not agree with them, we should work very hard to respect them. I have heard a number of different opinions from residents on housing density just recently. Tim enjoys the diversity and culture provided to a community through varied housing densities required to accommodate all stages of life. Is it good and healthy to have multiple opinions on a Commission or any Committee? Yes. It is a very healthy thing because more of the community will be represented. The Planning Commission (made up of 5 very unique members) is an advisory committee; their role is to make recommendations to the City Council who then votes on items according to their best judgment and after looking at all sides of the situation.
Finally, some argue that Tim, as a developer, should not serve on the Commission because of his “conflict of interest.” If that statement holds true, we are going to have to unseat three quarters of our State Legislature, including the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House. It is true, Tim has been involved in several developments in South Weber City and has another in the works. When these developments come to the Commission, Tim is careful to declare a conflict of interest and is not allowed to vote. I, personally, find it comforting that a long-time resident oversees development directly adjacent to his home of many years. I am able to rest a little easier knowing he has a personal interest in seeing that those developments are carefully designed and constructed to compliment the area they are built in. The assisted living center is an absolutely beautiful building, inside and out, that gives the appearance of a series of single-family homes. Tim was involved in every detail down to the accents on the fireplace inside the building. There is a strong sense of ownership and care felt when I look at the structure or enter inside. I have to believe that the residents of that facility feel that as well.
Tim is a long-time resident of this community. I have known him for a number of years and I highly respect him. I asked him to continue on Planning Commission because I have watched him in a number of meetings and have been grateful for his service. He has a very analytical mind and an expertise in land use regulation. He is calm and his vote is based on logic and not emotion. This makes some uncomfortable, but it puts me more at ease. I would like to give you a recent example of how he has helped our City. Please review the recording of August 8, 2019. The conditional use permit for the Cobblestone Short-term rental was up for approval. Tim stressed the fact that our City wanted these rentals to keep a residential feel. The owners argued that 34 people be allowed to occupy this rental at a time. Tim reminded them that nothing had been approved, and, because of a high volume of recent complaints from citizens in that area, Tim recommended only 15 occupants be allowed at a time (the owners have 21 beds in the house on 2 floors). The Planning Commission finally decided on 18 occupants. Tim brought the number of occupants down significantly.
Tim brings a balance to the Commission I feel is important. We are also in the middle of a general plan update. To try to bring a new member of Commission up to speed quickly and to try to replace the knowledge and understanding Tim brings to the table, would be very difficult and unwise in my opinion.
I understand the concern of some residents that term openings on the Commission be opened for application by the general public. I think that is wise and will commit to practicing that through the rest of my term. Appointment to the Planning Commission is one of the few decisions a mayor in South Weber has the power make, and I would only make a recommendation to the Council for an appointment if I felt strongly that the applicant was the right one for our City.