By Vernon Robison
Moapa Valley Progress
The Moapa Valley Town Advisory Board (MVTAB) approved a zoning request from the LDS Church at a meeting last Wednesday, regarding the second set of plans for a new chapel in Logandale. The proposed building will replace the historic chapel directly across the street from the Logandale Park that was destroyed in a fire in October 2009.
The Church had been working through the approval process for a previous site plan up until last September. At that point, an adjacent property, the old Mills house on the northeast corner of the lot, came available for purchase. Believing the property would allow a more ideal site plan, Church officials had tried to purchase this property earlier on in the process.But they were unable to reach an agreement with the owner at the time. When the property became available, church leaders decided to redraw the site plan taking the new parcel into consideration. This, in effect, started the process over.
Todd Robinson who presented the proposal on behalf of the church stated that the plans for the building itself were unchanged.
“We were almost through getting building permits before, when the property came up for sale,” Robinson said. “So the church said ‘Let’s reconfigure’ which basically started the process over. The building didn’t change. The floor plan is exactly the same as before. The building was just shifted over on the lot so that you can get a drive all the way behind it and have additional parking.”
As part of the request, the Church asked for a zone change that would bring all three parcels of the property into one zoning category. The original church property is currently zoned as Public Facility. The Mills property is zoned as Residential Estates (1/2 acre lots). And another acquired property located directly west of the chapel is currently zoned as Rural Open (2 acre lots). The Church was requesting that the parcels be changed to Residential Estates zoning. This would allow the chapel to be built on the parcel with a special use permit, Robinson said.
MVTAB member Gene Houston asked why all the zoning wasn’t being changed to Public Facilities (PF). County Planner Kevin Smedley responded that, in the past, PF zoning was being used by places of worship to circumvent the county’s parking lot requirements. The codes had thus been changed so that only government owned properties could receive PF zoning.
“How soon will you be getting to work on it?” asked MVTAB Chairwoman Judy Metz. “Because, to tell you the truth, I’m sick of looking at the empty lot.”
“As soon as possible,” said Robinson. He explained that the permitting process was just starting again. But since the building was not changing and most of the significant site work had already been done in the previous go-around, things should proceed quickly, he said.
Once the Church breaks ground on the building, though, construction should be completed in about ten months, he added.
During the public comment period, Logandale resident Gary Pearson asked about the building’s steeple height. Robinson had said that the steep was planned to be 70 ft. high.
“As I remember, when the catholic church was doing their thing I thought that 45 ft. was set as the number limit because that was the height of the stake center by the high school,” Pearson said. “What I want to know is what makes the goose different than the gander in this situation.”
Logandale resident Ralph Starita agreed. “When they gave the catholic church the 45 feet, they said that would be it for the area,” he said. “It was supposed to be all 45 feet. I don’t know where this 70 ft. came in.”
Robinson stated that the 70 ft. steeple was similar in height to that of the LDS Chapel at Hinckley Ave. in Logandale. The proposed steeple height had also not changed from the plans that had been approved two years ago, Robinson said.
“I have to be honest,” said Metz, “When the catholic church came in I remember giving them exactly what they asked for. When it is the case of a church, we don’t usually argue with them about what they are bringing if it is within reason. We gave them the steeple height that they asked for.”
Houston made a motion to approve the requests. The motion was approved with a unanimous vote of the board.
In a separate item, the board held a public meeting regarding an amendment to the Transportation Element regarding Moapa Valley. Kevin Smedley stated that the item had come before the board last fall and was approved. But because of an error it had been dropped out of the system and never brought before the County Commission. So it was being re-heard.
Smedley explained that the Transportation Element currently showed Moapa Valley Blvd. as a 200 ft. right of way. But the state highway is only demonstrating a 100 ft. right of way dedication, he said.
“We are trying to maintain what most people have dedicated,” Smedley said. “There is no desire by the state or the county to have 200 feet.”
Smedley explained that 100 ft right of way allows for seven lanes of traffic. A 200 ft. right of way is enough for the I-15 and similar thoroughfares, Smedley said.
The proposal would reduce the right of way between the Moapa Valley Mortuary to just south of Simplot.
In addition, the proposed change would affect Paiute Street north of Whipple reducing the right of way from 80 ft. down to 60 ft.
Logandale resident Max Masserang expressed concern that reducing the Paiute right of way might be unwise for future development. He explained that if development occurs in the areas to the east, including the Skyline area; and to the north, including the BLM land surrounding the Bowman reservoir; a larger street would be needed to eventually bring all that traffic to Moapa Valley Blvd.
“If you have to bring that traffic from the east side, Paiute has to be a collector street,” Masserang said. “Right now it is at 80 ft. I don’t understand why you’d bring it back down to 60 feet.”
But Houston said that this would result in a jagged edge right of way. “Right now they are observing 60 feet,” Houston said. “All the new stuff would be 80 feet. And then we’d be all over the place.” In addition, Houston said that 60 ft. would be plenty to accomodate the future development.
MVTAB member Dustin Nelson made a motion to approve the proposed changes to the Transportation element. The motion was accepted unanimously.