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By law, in order for the Salmon City Council to vote on an issue or request or recommendation from city committees it first must be placed on a published agenda so the public knows an action is imminent.

At the November 2nd City Council meeting the agenda listed two requests for property vacations. Upon inspection, the city’s Public Works Committee had recommended both should be denied which is what the council voted to do. The abundance of details surrounding the requests however brought up many more issues that the council and City Planner Dan Maiyo agreed must be researched and addressed since they are not uncommon.

Roy Jackson has requested that a portion of Chaffin Lane and an alley be vacated. The area is located between South St. Charles and Church Street and runs behind Jackson’s property. The request was inspired by a letter from the county building department advising Jackson he needed a building permit for a carport built in 2001 and that, according to a survey pin, is within a public right-or-way. That divided the question into two separate issues, the lack of building permit and the carport’s location in what is shown on the map, developed or not, as a public right-of-way. The carport issue was not part of the original request for the city to vacate a portion of Chaffin Lane so only the vacation was considered. Jackson has also replaced a fence in its original position and has since learned it is actually in the right-of-way.

The city’s Public Works Committee determined that half of the property in question is in the city and the other half is in the county making it impossible for the city to approve a vacation. On a five to one vote the council approved a motion to not grant a vacation. Jim Kluesner cast the opposing vote.

Jackson asked if the city could allow him a variance for the time being to leave the property as is without further improvement or intrusion until such time as the city needs it as a right -of-way to privately owned and undeveloped property on the east. He said he would continue to maintain the property and that the carport could be moved if necessary or in the event of a property sale could be removed entirely.

Maiyo defined the term ‘variance’ as relief from code requirements due to some unusual circumstance on a person’s property such as irregular size or shape of the property itself. He said ‘variance’ does not apply to a public right-of-way. He added that city code prohibits building in a public right-of-way.

Former Planning and Zoning Commission member, Councilman Fred Waidely, said Chaffin Lane as a road is one block long, or would be if it had ever been developed which it was not, and that makes it a public right-of-way that doesn’t go anywhere and is not being used for anything. He said the building permit is an issue, however he felt the issue of concern for the city to consider is that a carport is on a public right-of-way.

Tom Taylor of Taylor Mountain Surveying said there are places around the city that need to be vacated and someone has to say yes or no. He said the city can’t just not vacate a piece of property because the county owns one part and the city owns the other. In his view the overall issue must be addressed because there will be similar situations in the future.

Referring to the possibility of leaving Jackson’s portable carport where it is for now Taylor referred to the practice where private parties issue a revocable license which is not the same as a permanent ingress-egress easement but said he didn’t know if a government entity could do the same thing.

Councilman Ron Radford said he would like to give the subject a couple of weeks so legalities can be researched. Findings could then be placed on the next council agenda for discussion.

A similar situation has already occurred with Alison Steen’s request to vacate a portion of Willow Street. Her mobile home sits on a foundation in the middle of the platted street which could at some point be an access to private property.

The council unanimously turned down her vacation request based on recommendations from the Public Works Committee after it visited the site.

Both right-of-way issues will be placed on the City Council agenda for further research and discussion.

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