Rediscovering the Proper Role of Government

by Robert John Stevens, May 8, 2017

Friday afternoon I hand-delivered to Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee and his assistant Brian Voeks new copies of Ezra Taft Benson’s immortal, “The Proper Role of Government” in hopes Bill will give up central planning and endorse the founding principles of liberty that made America great.

Every American should read and rediscover its concepts at least once a year. I read it again on Friday.

Absurdities of Dealing with a Tyrannical Government in Utah County

by Robert John Stevens, April 25, 2017

My wife picked up a feasibility letter today signed by Craig Bostock, Water Quality Program Manager, at the Utah County Health Department (UCHD). My response below should help the reader see the absurdities of dealing with a tyrannical government, their unaccountable employees and their obsession to torment citizens.

Hi Craig,

Attached is a scanned version of your letter dated April 25, 2017 which states, Groundwater was observed on Lot 8 at 18″ from the surface and R317-4 requires that an appropriate alternative on-site wastewater system be installed.

Your 18″ measurement is very alarming because it contradicts all previous and adjacent-parcel readings.

We’re not looking for the worst measurement at the wettest time since the 1983 flood, just the best place on 5.25-acres to install a wastewater treatment system.

When the ground is this wet, water may be observed in any depth hole because water finds the path of least resistance and is a function of the draining land versus the rate the water can evaporate and percolate through the hole.

For example, a puddle in the street or in your front yard is not necessarily the groundwater level.

Just weeks ago, excavator Brian Sorensen dug a deep trench on the NE side of parcel #8. Jason Garrett from UCHD came and measured from the surface to the top of the gray/black line and said that was a previous water level, perhaps from the 1983 flood.

Jason measured the top of the gray/black line at 22″ from the surface but the water was at 28″. Brian Sorensen, potential buyer Ben McKinnon and I were all witnesses.

From those findings, I’d expect your letter to say, “We recommend you install your wastewater system at the NE location where water was observed 28″ below the surface.”

I wasn’t there to witness the 18″ surface-to-water level observation. Who reported it? Who were the witnesses? From which hole was it taken?

As Hugh Hurlow the Senior Scientist at Utah Geological Survey wrote on April 7, 2017, “If they are dense clay, they may be previous deposits of lake mud (higher levels of Utah lake or, if much older, Lake Bonneville); or if they are more coarse-grained and contain organic material they may be old soil horizons. They probably do not provide information on past groundwater levels.”

From 2008 thru 2010 the Utah County Health Department (UCHD) measurements for groundwater on parcel #8 (then numbered 5) were 54″, 44″, 32″, 4′ 11″ and 4′ 3″.

The 32″ level was an anomaly. UCHD officials told me to dig a trench deeper than 6′, place a perforated PVC pipe and backfill. Groundwater experts today recommend the perforated PVC pipe be encased in course-grain sand.

In June of 2010, parcel #8 was flood irrigated, mud clogged the pipe’s holes and then UCHD came and measured the water at 32″ from the surface.

To prove the water level was much lower, I had a 7′ trench dug next to the clogged pipe but UCHD ignored that measurement and it was conveniently not recorded in their log.

Your new 18″ reading contradicts the measurements taken from both adjacent parcels. Groundwater experts know groundwater levels from adjacent parcels will not vary much.

After Jason Garrett left, I had Brian Sorensen dig a shallow, 3′ hole on the NW to see where the black line was. It was inches lower so we left the hole open and later emailed Jason to invite him to come see it.

If the 18″ was taken from the shallow NW hole, note the inconsistencies to measure the groundwater level:

1. For the NE hole, the top of the gray/black line was used.

2. For the NW hole, the water level was used.

Instead, you wrote, “Groundwater was observed on Lot 8 at 18″ from the surface…”

Average and all previous measurements were once again ignored.

To lower groundwater levels, a future homeowner can easily install an underground pipe to channel water to the Benjamin drainage canal as was done in the 1920s for adjacent parcel #6.

Excavator Brian Sorensen rebuilt that pipe and connected it to the nearby manhole.

Absent the Benjamin Drainage System and underground pipes, few if any parcels would survive your scrutiny.

That too may a better solution than to penalize and require a more expensive, alternative onsite wastewater treatment system.

If the possibility of wastewater backup exists, homeowners are more likely to choose a system where that is less likely to occur, and state code already exists, so why then is UCHD involved in this endeavor when it can be easily handled by the private sector?

Please adjust your letter to accurately reflect the cumulative data.

Best Regards,

Robert Stevens
P.S. See also the attached UCHD measurements from 2008-2010.


Emails received April 26, 2017

Mr. Stevens –

As discussed yesterday and previously, it is inappropriate for you to demand that the Health Department to adjust a letter by these sorts of methods. You may inquire as to whether the determination was deemed to be final, and if it is a final determination by the Health Department, you may appeal the determination pursuant to Utah County Health Regulation 17-01..

Carl Hollan
Deputy Utah County Attorney
100 East Center Street, Suite 2400
Provo, Utah 84606
Tel: (801) 851-8005


Hi Carl,

I left you a phone message. Now that I’ve caught your attention, may we set up a time we can speak in person and offline? Please schedule a time today or next week and I’ll come. Or may I take you to lunch?

–Robert


Robert –

Thank you, but I must decline. I do not have any authority to order Craig to take any action and it would be inappropriate to meet for that purpose. You have an avenue for recourse through Utah County Health Regulation 17-01 and I would ask that you please use the legal processes already established.

If you decide to request a hearing on this determination I will review all of the pertinent details with the Health Department so I am prepared to respond. However, until you follow the procedures outlined in Utah County Health Regulation 17-01 there is no legal avenue for anyone except for Craig and his supervisors in the Health Department to alter his determination.

Finally, while I appreciate that this process has been frustrating for you, I must request that you please refrain from personal attacks against County employees. County employees are happy and willing to assist you through these processes, but personal attacks will not be tolerated.

Thank you,

Carl Hollan
Deputy Utah County Attorney
100 East Center Street, Suite 2400
Provo, Utah 84606
Tel: (801) 851-8005


Good Morning Carl,

I am sure you’re doing your best as a county attorney and are defending your beliefs and understandings.

Google defines a personal attack as, “Making of an abusive remark on or relating to one’s person instead of providing evidence when examining another person’s claims or comments.”

If that is not your definition of personal attack, then please send me yours.

By Google’s definition, I’ve clearly outlined evidence of abuses I’ve received and have provided supporting documentation. In a normal business, such documented complaints would be taken seriously. Other engineers have received similar abuses from Craig and are ready to testify.

Email is a poor way to communicate. I just want to meet with you so I can understand all the avenues I have to right wrongs and to learn more about the history of those who have been in similar situations. When we meet I think much good can come from it that will save us both much time.

Again, as a citizen, landowner and taxpayer of Utah County, may I meet with you personally?

–Robert Stevens

Costs and Regulations Keep New Farms From Emerging in America

by Robert John Stevens, April 25, 2017

Today I attended the 9:00 a.m. Utah County Commissioner Meeting and when public comments were requested, I walked to the guest speaker’s pulpit and read to the three commissioners1, Google’s definitions of:

liberty — “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views”

oppression — “prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control.”

I highlighted the words oppression and prolonged in relation to the fourteen years I’ve worked on developing my 103 acres in Utah County. I told them that before I finish I will have sold more than half of my land just to pay the utilities and government fees required to live on my remaining farmland at a cost of more than $2 million.

I reported that Commissioner Lee and I sponsored a team of BYU students this winter semester whose mission was to determine how unused county lands can be used for agriculture.

After interviewing dozens of farmers, orchard growers and residents, the students reported that the remaining farmers are elderly and their children don’t want to continue farming.

Unless an American grew up on a farm, it is highly unlikely he or she will want to become a farmer.

Today, costs and regulations have made it impossible for most citizens to buy land, build a home and start a farm.

Contrast that to the Utah pioneers who after paying $1.50 for recording and surveying fees, moved onto their property and went to work.

Pioneer families struggled. Hard work was required to get ahead. Employers today would love to hire children that grew up on farms but few can be found.

One BYU Professor friend tells me that he can’t wait to retire because students today do not know how to work.

Because excessive governmental regulations crushed competition, almost no new farms have emerged in Utah County for decades.

The students discovered that most food grown locally is exported outside of Utah County and most of the food we eat is imported. Because regulations protected farmers and halted new farms from forming, big corporations filled the growing public’s need for food. Walmart, Costco and supermarket chains have access to worldwide markets and buy our foods from farmers and distributors thousands of miles away.

Fruit is tracked to the very tree where it was grown.

Utah County won’t remove any regulations unless mandated by the state of Utah—Employees say to change or remove a single regulation would require them to conduct a study to see how that would affect all their other regulations.

A citizen may request a regulation wording change for $300 and will have the opportunity to discuss the issue publicly at a commissioner meeting. Most likely the wording change will be denied. To make matters worse, county employees will not re-word it for acceptance.

I told the commissioners that if I ever ran against them, I’d print their 292 pages of land-use ordinances, and staple them together as one long scroll so voters can see its length. Commissioner Graves laughed and said there are many more regulations than that.

He’s right of course. Add the Utah County Health Department regulations, the state regulations, and more.

Commissioner Graves said all those regulations exists because there were lawsuits.

County regulations aren’t footnoted. Many are probably out of date. Fear and uncertainty also prevent changes.

It has become obvious to me that politicians highly favor large institutions and very wealthy people. If an American wants to do good for the human race, he probably first needs to educate himself, develop a product or service and become wealthy.

As my son Andrew so wisely states, “We are a big-business society. The little guy is only cool when he stops becoming the little guy.”

Footnotes

1 Commissioners Bill Lee, Nathan Ivie, and Greg Gregs

Does anyone in America know what it is like to live in a Constitutional Republic?

by Robert John Stevens, April 18, 2017

Yesterday Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee and I attended a final presentation at BYU in Provo, Utah for an on-campus internship that we sponsored this winter semester. Our student team presented solutions for how we can increase agricultural production in residential and county lands.

After the meeting, Bill, Chris White (an owner of four local restaurants) and I met outside at the Tanner Building parking lot. Our discussion turned to Utah County regulations. I said, “If you create a two-column spreadsheet and compare the permissions required to build in Utah County versus a communist country, you’ll see no difference except that in Utah County you may own your own property versus the government owns it in communism. Well, imminent domain laws may still take your property away.”

Bill replied, “Does anyone in America know what it is like to live in a Constitutional Republic?” He said he’s asked that question to Senator Mike Lee.

The answer is no. Since the Federal Reserve coup in 1913, no American knows what it is like to live in a Constitutional Republic.

Defending a Mink Farm at the Expense of Citizen’s Rights

by Robert John Stevens, April 13, 2017

Suppose you buy land in the country to enjoy more space and fresh air but years later a farmer buys 40 acres next to you and builds a mink farm. Countless flys fill your home and barn, the air both inside and outside stinks of mink feces, you see dead minks lying in feces piles, and minks literally terrorize and attack you or your spouse.

You’re not alone—Your neighbors all experience the same horrors.

This is exactly the situation in Payson, Utah where dozens of neighbors rallied and testified at the April 11, 2017 Utah County Commissioners Hearing to consider farmer Beckstead’s petition for agricultural protection.

Farmer Beckstead knows his minks are damaging the property values of his neighbors and making their lives miserable so he applied for agricultural protection to use the force of government to protect his interests from nuisance laws.

Whose rights are violated? Clearly the neighbors were there first. If farmer Beckstead loved his neighbor as Jesus taught, would he pollute their air with the smell of mink feces?

Farmer Beckstead lives in Lehi about twenty miles to the north—Unless his families’ noses lost their ability to smell, he knows better than to live at his mink farm and suffer like his neighbors.

Minks aren’t just pets that have learned to happily co-exhist with humans—they are vicious, angry aggressors who sometimes carry rabies and other diseases. Children won’t know that so when they see one on a nearby school playground, they’ll gather around and try and touch it and pick it up.

Will agricultural protection protect Farmer Beckstead from lawsuits?

Neighbors report seeing minks all over their lands. Even if Farmer Beckstead could contain his minks, he can’t contain the smell that lures incoming minks looking for their own species and mates.

One man explained how he lost a fortune developing nearby one-acre parcels because after the mink farm was created, buyers lost their appetite.

Farmer Beckstead has the right to farm as long as he doesn’t violate the rights of his neighbors but since he obviously had and plans to continue to do so, he sought for agricultural protection. Rather than repeatedly break the Golden Rule, he could sell his mink farm today for a profit into Utah County’s strong real estate market and buy land far away from others.

The Utah County Commissioners heard but ignored the neighbors’ highly emotional complaints and ruled in favor of farmer Beckstead. After repeated, unsuccessful appeals to Payson and Utah County government, will the neighbors persist, give up and play dead or will they eventually defend their liberties and inalienable rights with violence as the Declaration of Independence authorizes?

My family and I lived in Highland Utah, about a mile from a mink farm. Driving by the farm we always noticed the putrid smell. As more residents moved in, opposition grew. Because of the united angry citizenry, the farmer was finally asked to leave.

Utah County Commissioners should have known better than to favor Farmer Beckstead who clearly violates the rights of his neighbors and grant him special agricultural protection. This issue will not go away; instead, it will just get worse as the population of Payson increases.

Citizens don’t care about Utah County’s hundreds of pages of regulations, especially when they contradict their built-in conscience that tells them to love their neighbor as themselves and to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

I think very highly of all three Utah County Commissioners, enjoy watching them grow in their callings, and consider Bill Lee a very good friend so I recommend that we all re-read Ezra Taft Benson’s 32-page masterpiece, The Constitution: A Heavenly Banner.


April 11, 2017 Utah County Commissioners Hearing

PUBLIC HEARING TO CONSIDER APPROVAL OF THE PROPOSED BECKSTEAD AGRICULTURE PROTECTION AREA APPLICATION, WITH THE UTAH COUNTY PUBLIC WORKS MODIFICATION REQUEST TO EXCLUDE THE ROAD RIGHTS-OF-WAY WIDTHS FROM THE PROPOSAL, REDUCING ACREAGE AND REQUIRING A VARIANCE; APPROXIMATELY 40.028 ACRES LOCATED IN SECTION 7, T9S, R2E, IN THE WEST PAYSON AREA OF UNINCORPORATED UTAH COUNTY

Utah County to Spend Millions on Software When the Alternatives are Free

by Robert John Stevens, Thursday, March 23, 2017

Imagine you need a new word processor. Rather than download 30-day free trials and then compare their solutions for the tasks you use most, you delegate your decision process to paid, community leaders who invite large, for-profit vendors to pitch their solutions and then politicians decide for you.

From what I witnessed, that’s how Utah County just decided to spend more than a million dollars per year on software rather than embrace free or near-free alternatives.

Remember, taxation is theft.

Utah County Commissioners voted 2-1 Tuesday to license WorkDay software for their human resource and financial management needs once County Attorney Robert Moore completes negotiations.

Commissioner Nathan Ivie delivered an eloquent, convincing argument to support and not vote against the preferences of those county employees who testified they prefer Workday over ADP.

The dissenting vote came from Commissioner Bill Lee who made an impressive argument that after sitting through the vendor presentations, he prefers ADP, the long-time and proven leader in this category.

Attorney Robert Moore correctly testified that ADP and Workday provide liability against lawsuits for software glitches, not user input errors.

I wasn’t part of the software review process but witnessing this meeting was shocking.

How easy it is for these public servants to spend more than a million dollars a year of taxpayer’s money.

Who from Utah County explored free alternatives? I spoke twice and begged the commissioners to consider free, open source or low-cost alternatives. I asked for time to investigate and propose alternatives but they had already made up their minds.

I argued the Mormon Church has spent more than seventeen years developing FamilySearch, employing more than 200 software professionals every year at a cost of more than a billion dollars.

Dallan Quass, who was the CTO of Family Search for two years, finally had enough and resigned. He knew the optimal size of programming teams is one to six programmers, and that two hundred software professionals create a zoo environment of captivity and inefficiency. In fact, all FamilySearch programmers and every BYU Computer Science professor know that but very few with a true moral conscience have resigned in protest.

Using modern software technologies such as Angular 1.x, in just one year Dallan Quass, all by himself, programmed a competitor to FamilySearch that he launched as RootsFinder.com.

Why then does the Mormon Church still employ more than 200 software professionals to continue developing FamilySearch? Because like other technical hostage situations, their upper management yields to fear and uncertainty from techies who speak above them and will do anything to keep their jobs.

As examples of free software alternatives, I reminded the commissioners they could pay for Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office or get Linux and Open Office or free.

A woman from Utah County Human Resources complained about the county’s job listing software and testified how much easier it will be to post jobs using multi-million dollar Workday software.

Considering how ugly the Utah County career website looks, I’m sure she’s right. The website’s outdated appearance demonstrates complete incompetence in the county’s ability to build or choose software.

Any freshman computer science major can create job board software. They can also create a WordPress website in just one click and then choose from a variety of great jWordPress job listing plugins including WP Job Manager.

From what I gathered, the county’s approach to choosing a software solution is to attend vendor presentations. Even the commissioners attended them. How different is that from choosing a politician? Where were the employees who would actually use the software? Did they personally learn and try the alternatives and offer their feedback? Why wasn’t data presented at the commissioner meeting that proved time and cost savings?

I argued that although ADP and Workday offer thousands of features, most users will probably use just 2-3 dozen. I explained in software development we now adhere to the 80/20 rule to focus on and provide simple, elegant solutions for the 80%.

I explained that in the 21st century, software developers have evolved past opinions and personal bias and provide test results to determine our decisions.

Rather than trust the decisions of opinionated bureaucrats and managers, a better way to choose software is to simply list the top tasks, devise tests for each, and perform those tests with those who will actually use the software.

In other words, rather than hear Amway-like testimonies of personal bias, I wanted to see summary test results but none was offered at the commissioner meeting.

One gentleman wisely testified that there are many software subsystems that will need to be integrated or replaced with the new software. He insightfully warned of unforeseen costs and consequences but his testimony was completely ignored.

After all, how could politicians estimate the costs of unforeseen integration problems?

I asked that if they must spend money, that they keep it in Utah. Just think of how many programmers can be hired for a million dollars a year to program solutions for whatever open source solutions do not provide!

I asked for a chance to find free or low-cost solutions that satisfy the majority needs but my offer was ignored.

I wondered how many of Utah County’s tasks can be accomplished using Quickbooks and WordPress plugins.

No accountable private or public company with as few employees as Utah County would spend more than a million dollars annually on human resource and financial software when free or near-free alternatives exist, but because Utah County government isn’t accountable to the taxpayers from whom they steal, money isn’t an issue.


Robert Stevens is an expert in computer software development and has been programming since 1981. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Brigham Young University and also completed his course work for his M.S. in Computer Science at BYU. Since 2004 he has researched dozens of web technologies and studied how large web applications can be built inexpensively by very small teams on low budgets.

Utah County Flooding, UDOT and Solution Recommendations for Subdivisions

by Robert John Stevens, March 20, 2017

This is an exceptional wet year, probably the wettest since the 1983 Utah floods, and the hard-packed dirt from laser levelling caused the water to glide over it rather than sink in.

Here is a classic example of a compounded problem resulting from government intervention. Please read it to understand the problem and proposed solutions:

For decades my 45 acres along 1/2 mile of SR-147 in Benjamin, Utah were irrigated from east to west so the water flowed downhill along the natural slope of the land.

At some point, somebody complained to Utah County that their neighbor’s water came onto their property so a regulation was created that requires each new subdivision parcel to have its own watering system.

So to comply, I had contractors build almost 1/2 mile of east-to-west cement irrigation ditch and also laser levelled parcels to slope from south to north towards SR-147.

Naturally, you’d think the water should have drained into the UDOT ditch along SR-147 from 4400 to 4700 West but the Orem UDOT branch won’t permit it and even denies it is a ditch, even though they had us build culverts where driveways crossed it.

Glen Tanner at Utah County Public Works believes once the parcels are tilled and planted, the roots will enable water to drain down.

Future parcel owners may install 2″ or 4″ pipes to pump out excess water.

What lessons can we learn?

  1. Never create regulations based upon minority complaints. In software engineering, we have an 80/20 rule: If 20% or fewer people want something, don’t build it, especially if there are unforeseen consequences and it makes things more difficult for the majority.

  2. Undue burdensome regulations.

  3. Recommend developers install a drainage pipe encased in gravel under the low end of adjacent parcels, with the grade sloping towards it, and the cement irrigation ditch on the opposite end so the water flows from high to low and the extra water is drained off the property.

  4. Permit UDOT ditches for common-sense water discharge.

  5. Schedule a charrette meeting with stakeholders including representatives from drainage districts and local excavators.

  6. We need master planning for county roads, drainage, sewer and utilities. Isn’t that one of the main reasons we form governments?

Utah County will Consider Building Roads in Phases if…

by Robert John Stevens, March 14, 2017

Yesterday I met with Brandon Larsen from Utah County Development, Glen Tanner from Utah County Public Works, and Robert Moore the Utah County Attorney.

They said they would approve paving of my 3/4-mile road in phases if I:

  1. Submit a completed UTAH COUNTY APPLICATION FOR DEDICATION OR DELETION OF ROADS1
  2. Grub the entire 3/4-mile road
  3. Lay road fill and road base and compact them according to Utah County standards
  4. Dedicate the road to Utah County (and lose control)
  5. Pave sections when able

That may sound reasonable but consider the following:

Would you personally pay to build a 3/4-mile road with all improvements except the asphalt pavement, not knowing how much damage will happen to the road fill and the powdery road base, nor the cost the damage will incur?

Because you are required to dedicate your unfinished road, you cannot stop the public from driving on it, nor unauthorized vehicles including motorcycles and four-wheelers from tearing up the road fill and road base.

Yes, it is an option and a new option is a step in the right direction but now that the old school and corrupt commissioners are gone, the real issues are:

  1. Will an appeal to the Utah County Commissioners result in plat approval without these efforts?

  2. Do Utah County Commissioners support the rights for all men to possess and protect property and do they maintain those rights to be inherent and inalienable as defined by the Utah Constitution?2

  3. Was the intent of the Founding Fathers really to uphold and protect property rights while denying men the right to live on their property?

It is time for a reversal of corrupt regulations that are stifling development and keeping men and women from living on their own farmland, and for Utah County to relinquish usurped power.

In the end, government employees, politicans and I and all their colleagues must stand before God and be judged according to whether or not we used unrighteous dominion to deny our fellow men and women of their free agency and inalienable rights.


1Article I, Section 1. [Inherent and inalienable rights.]

All men have the inherent and inalienable right to enjoy and defend their lives and liberties; to acquire, possess and protect property; to worship according to the dictates of their consciences; to assemble peaceably, protest against wrongs, and petition for redress of grievances; to communicate freely their thoughts and opinions, being responsible for the abuse of that right.

2UTAH COUNTY APPLICATION FOR DEDICATION OR DELETION OF ROADS

As part of the application to dedication a road, an applicant is required to submit:

  1. A map of the proposed road or county road to be deleted or vacated;
  2. A map showing the surrounding area with all abutting land parcels;
  3. Document(s) identifying the present ownership of the land (attach all maps and documents to application);
  4. An access permit from the State Department of Transportation, District Engineer’s office, if the proposed road is to access onto or cross a state highway;
  5. For a dedication, an itemized estimate made by an engineer licensed in the State of Utah of the cost of improving the road to meet county construction requirements.
  6. Letters from Utah County Public Works and the Fire Marshall

Realted

Utah County Commissioners Vote Against Inalienable Property Rights and Private Party Contracts

How to Build Roads in Phases to Appease County Governments

by Robert John Stevens, February 23, 2017

Asphalt roads dedicated to and maintained by county governments at the expense of taxpaying citizens are a relatively new concept. Mankind has survived and prospered without them for thousands of years.

Utah County, Utah requires driveways in new subdivisions, which may consist of only one buildable 5-acre parcel, to connect directly to paved, dedicated state or county roads. No dead-ends or cul-de-sacs are currently permitted.1 Regulation changes or deletions are needed to remove such barriers.

To appease county government and propose a compromise, here is my solution to build roads in phases:

Road Phases

  1. Build road stubs. This should be enough to fulfill the requirement for driveway access because there is absolutely no difference between shared road stubs and shared driveway stubs for emergency vehicle access.2 A legally binding contract can be drawn up to protect all parties.
  2. Pave one or more road segments. Using fill material (not asphalt), install temporary hammerheads3 for emergency vehicle access in compliance with Appendix D of the International Fire Code. If possible, excavate the remainder of the road, remove all grub and install fill material4 so trucks can drive all the way thru.
  3. Pave the remaining road and remove the temporary hammerheads.

Notes and Issues to Discuss

  1. Because developers will not always complete future phases, county governments want to be left with something they can live with.
  2. Governments were formed to protect property rights, not keep people from building on their own property.
  3. All government-run tasks that can be done by the free market should be taken away from government and given to private businesses for better, faster and higher-quality service.
  4. Asphalt will probably not be the primary material to construct roads in the 22nd century.5
  5. Taxpayers do not want to pay for the maintenance of rural paved roads. If usage is considered, when should a road be paved, and then maintained by government? If savings accounts were created and gold and silver deposited for future maintenance, would government rob them?
  6. Governments regulations experience feature creep. Governments make the same mistake as software development firms by listening to and innovating for the minorities who complain the loudest.
  7. At what point should paved or unpaved roads be dedicated to the county government?

    • Developers should be leery of dedicating roads too early because of unforeseen changes in government regulations or tyranny that will disable their ability to complete future phases.
    • Currently, Utah County won’t approve subdivisions until entire roads are built, paved and dedicated.
    • Dedicating a completed paved road is less risky.
  8. Building entire roads with fill material only will allow trucks to enter and exit.
  9. Until a road is ready to pave, road base should not be installed because of erosion due to weather, vehicles, geological movement resulting in high maintenance. Road base is designed to be a cochin for road pavement and to enable raised center crowns for drainage.
  10. So-called protection by providing legal wording on recorded plats is not always upheld, especially if it contradicts current government regulations or wishes.
  11. Increasing populations affect land prices, making it nearly impossible for new farms to emerge. An orchard farmer recently told an inquiring BYU student that 220 acres would be required to create a profitable fruit orchard business.
  12. Whether intended or not, many regulations to halt or slow development also hinder agricultural competition.
  13. The average age of farmers is increasing and most of their posterity do not want to farm.
  14. Although government officials brag about their county agricultural production, most know if trucks stop shipping food due to an extreme cataclysmic event, local farms cannot provide enough food to sustain the local population and most citizens would die in months.
  15. Most people do want to become farmers. Many who were raised on farms just want one to 5.25-acre parcels. These are the next generation farmers to surround incorporated cities and towns.

1 Although some bureaucrats not like dead-end roads because they become party areas and places where people park cars, trucks and recreation vehicles, is that a good reason to ban them?

2 I lost this battle in September. See Utah County Commissioners Vote Against Inalienable Property Rights and Private Party Contracts but now that Nathan Ivie replaced the opposing Utah County Commissioner, it should be reconsidered.

3 Temporary asphalt hammerheads are too costly to build and remove when the next phase begins.

4 From Excavator Brian Sorensen: Engineered fill or a good bank run fill material consists of rock and dirt mixture. When installed and compacted properly it serves as the structural or stabilization layer to start building a good road. It can be used in some cases as a permanent road, but makes snow removal difficult.

5 Like asphalt, cement has a short lifespan so roads, driveways and buildings built today will need to be torn down and rebuilt, probably at far greater prices.

The Romans’ concrete has lasted 2,000 years. It was used in the Pantheon building in Rome which still stands today. Their cement formula included volcanic rock which is abundant in Utah.

The U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation tried to recreate Roman cement. If their formula works, it could literally save taxpayers trillions of dollars in the future. See Understanding and using the properties that allow Roman concrete to last over 2,000 years.

Utah County Monument Markers for New Subdivisions: More Regulations to Cut

by Robert John Stevens, February 1, 2017

In Utah County, Utah, two monument markers are required for each subdivision whether the subdivision consists of one or more parcels.

To restate, if a subdivision is comprised of just one parcel, two monument markers are required. If a subdivision is comprised of one hundred parcels, still only two monument markers are required.

But according to Barry Prettyman at Cole’s Surveying and Engineering in Salem, Utah, surveyors don’t use the monument markers—instead, they survey from the section corners.

So why does the Utah County Land Use Regulations require two monument markers per subdivision, especially if others are nearby and surveyors don’t use them?

Monument markers are not easy to install. They require 6″ PVP pipe filled with cement and a brass monument placed on one end so its top is flush with the top of the PVP pipe, information etched into the brass and then buried in the ground. Installing them in asphalt is particularly difficult.

Monument markers are another reason to footnote the Utah County Land Use Regulations and cut the ones that don’t make logical sense.

The Utah County Public Works monument marker inspection fee is $390, which is required before the county engineer will sign my mylar plat. That is in addition to the $500 bond I already paid them. Since the bond didn’t allow us to get subdivision approval while we delayed the monument marker installation, there was no reason for bonding.

Barry Prettyman at Cole’s Surveying only charges $250 to build and install a monument marker. Since my wife and I bought the materials and had the bronze cap stamped, I hope he’ll charge less. 🙂