City Council 5.8.23

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

The Mountain Home City Council met on Monday, May 8 in regular session. The meeting began with the presentation of life-saving awards to several officers and deputies from the Mountain Home Police Department and Elmore County Sheriff’s Office. The recipients were left with a standing ovation.

More details about these officers and their heroic efforts can be read on page 2 in “Local Officers Receive Life-saving Awards.”

Following this, the council received a formal update on Well #17. They were informed that due to sand, the previously desired goal for gallons per minute wouldn’t be attainable at the well’s current depth. A study conducted suggested that the well can continue to be dug at least 20 feet deeper, but could potentially even be dug 25, 50, or 80 feet deeper. The council decided that it would be worth the investment to dig deeper and utilize a sand separator.

The meeting next moved to department head reports. Community Development Director Brock Cherry announced the Mountainbound RV Park Groundbreaking which was held last Saturday, and thanked Communications Director Betsy Hiddleston for her work in preparing for the event.

Fire Chief Mark Moore announced that the parking lot at Station #1 had been paved and completed.

Before moving on to the consent agenda, Councilman Brennan made a formal apology to the citizens regarding the city pool project. He explained that the pool had once again gone out for bid only to receive no bids. He added, “We hope to get it done soon.”

The council then moved to approve the consent agenda, pulling two items. The two items both pertained to the proposed addition of two members to the Impact Fee Advisory Committee. Councilman Brennan explained that he felt that adding two individuals from outside of the realm of real estate and property development to a board that already holds a steep majority of individuals who are involved in real estate and development wouldn’t adequately bring a balance of interest to the committee as intended by city ordinance. Ultimately the council elected to add the two new individuals to the committee.

The council then moved on to a slew of action items under new business. The first of which was an appeal from Imagine Venture, who was seeking a waiver of development fees for their proposed apartments. They sought to waive impact fees, but not taxes. Many members of the council expressed concern about the potential precedence of waiving such fees. Ultimately, the council did not grant the requesters their waiver, but invited them to return with more information.

Next, with little discussion, the council unanimously approved the placement of three portable classrooms for West Elementary at 415 W 2nd North.

Following this, the council heard from developers of a residential project at S 14th West and Jerome. The developers’ project would include 152 available units, but would only have one entry/exit point. This proved to be a cause of concern for a few of the council members. The developers agreed to provide a 25ft emergency easement in the final plat, though Councilman Brennan and Councilwoman Garvey voted against Planning and Zoning recommendations for approval, with Mayor Sykes providing a tie-breaking vote in favor of approval twice.

The council was faced with a Planning and Zoning recommendation to amend city code to allow for an addition that would outright permit all City of Mountain Home facilities and structures, provide a definition for city facilities and structures, and update the zoning land use chart to illustrate all city structures and facilities as permitted with conditions. Both Councilman Brennan and Councilwoman Garvey opposed the action as they felt it would permit the city to have “free reign” and skip prudent steps. Councilwoman Garvey stated, “It’s really not hard to have a public notice.” Each of the council members voted to deny the action item.

Lastly, the council voted unanimously to approve an annexation and C-4 zoning of a half acre parcel.

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