Is Requiring Water Rights for New County Subdivisions Absurd?

by Robert John Stevens, January 2, 2018

Suppose Utah County requires every vehicle buyer to purchase so many gallons of fuel a year.

During inversions when our air is dirty and unhealthy, some want the government to force people to drive less but what do we do about vehicles that consume less fuel?

Some citizens rarely drive and some have shorter commutes to work.

Some may want regulations for vehicles to be clean so they are pleasant to look at. If owners of dirty vehicles won’t comply then does that sound reasonable to pass regulations forcing them to wash their vehicles? Should we bless the owners of car washes?

Do any of these ideas justify a government one-size-solution?

Probably not–reason suggests there are too many variables to adopt such regulations.

Likewise, we like to see green farms; therefore, should we pass regulations requiring any new subdivisions in Utah County to have so many water rights?

But what months must their farms be green? Even irrigated alfalfa fields turn brown in the fall.

Some vegetables and plants can be planted in the late fall or winter months. For those willing to grow peas and flowers with natural rainwater and harvest them before spring, should they be required to have a minimum number of water rights that they won’t need?

What about the want-to-be farmer who wants to build vertical gardens or use hydroponics?

What do we do about innovators who study water recycling and water reuse and claim better agricultural productivity?

I’d like for the government to get out of the business of water rights for new subdivisions. It is hostile to want-to-be farmers and innovators. It keeps families from settling on farmland and children from growing up on farms.

Do we want more farms and more farmers? Do we want more or fewer food imports?

Just as it makes no sense for Utah County to regulate how many gallons of fuel a buyer must purchase, it makes no sense to require more than culinary water for a household.

See water Use in Utah (149 pages)
See https://water.utah.gov/OtherReports/WaterReuse/WaterReuseAA.pdf

–Robert

Should Governments Seize Property and Ruin The Lives of Citizens Who Fail to Pay Their Property Taxes?

by Robert John Stevens, December 22, 2017

If you fail to pay your property taxes, should the government seize your property?

I’ve sat in several Utah County Commissioners’ Meetings where citizen appeals are reviewed. Each time county employees testify to the county commissioners that they sent property tax notices and still the taxes weren’t paid. Each time the commissioners unanimously deny the appeal and ruin lives.

This scene always reminds me of French revolution movie scenes where tyrants send innocent citizens to the guillotine.

Google, “What percentage of mail gets lost by USPS yearly?” How many times have you received someone else’s postal mail? Did you always promptly forward it? What if you are experiencing financial distress and cannot pay your property taxes?

There are approximately 600,000 citizens in Utah County. Guestimating 20% own property, that’s 120,000 property tax notices per year. If 1% of those are lost or stolen, then 12,000 landowners face property seizure.

Shockingly, the citizens who filed for appeals were not at the meetings. Why not? Probably because they felt they submitted valid reasons and expected mercy, forgiveness and civility.

Commissioner Bill Lee told me on Wednesday that it is the duty of every citizen to pay his or her property taxes and the tax notices are just courtesies. I have a great deal of respect for Bill Lee. He’s a fine person who has acquired a great deal of wisdom. At first, Bill’s argument sounded reasonable to me and then I remembered that most citizens in Utah County are Mormon, Catholic or Protestant and expect the county commissioners to Follow the Golden Rule as commanded by Jesus Christ and reiterated by modern apostles.

“Followers of Christ should be examples of civility…We should be wise in explaining and pursuing our positions and in exercising our influence…We encourage all of us to practice the Savior’s Golden Rule: ‘Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them’ (Matthew 7:12).”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—Follow the Golden Rule.

If I were a commissioner I would never vote to seize the property of citizens who failed to pay their taxes. To exercise equal justice, I would approve appeals contingent upon reasonable accrued interest, not to exceed what local banks impose. There is no reason found in Christianity for governments to seize property and ruin the lives of citizens who are late paying their property taxes.

Utah County Proposal to Balance Authoritarian Control with Liberty for New Subdivisions

Letter to various Utah County Employees, September 21, 2017, by Robert John Stevens

Hi Craig (Bostock), Brandon (Larsen), Jay (Montgomery), Bill (Lee), Brian (Voeks), and Glen (Tanner),

Please consider this proposal to balance the authoritarian control that Utah County demands and enforces with personal liberty and private property rights:

Rather than delay subdivision approval, by default impose the worst-case, most expensive remedies, and immediately grant subdivision approval. I call this the guilty until innocent approach.

Then while citizens are making other improvements, preparing to build, and building their homes they can pay for tests and implement lower cost remedies as needed.

This way, no county department delays progress.

For example, by default, assume the groundwater table is high. Then, rather than delay subdivision approval, citizens may choose an expensive wastewater treatment system, that in today’s dollars may cost $25k, and may require hauling in a great deal of soil that perks.

Then as citizens work through other issues they can pay to have traditional underground water monitoring performed, perhaps using piezometers, hoping the tests will reveal lower groundwater, so they may implement a lesser expensive solution.

If it is realized that the underground water table is too close to the surface, then the property owner may immediately begin working on other remedies such as digging drainage ditches, installing lateral drains to manholes or building French drains powered by solar or electrical energy (just as Provo City may require electrical-powered sump pumps in residential basements).

Another example is water quality. By default, the Utah County Health Department may impose a costly water quality treatment remedy. Using this guilty until proven innocent approach, citizens are not delayed.

If the property owner buys and transfers water rights to the property, has a well dug and the water quality is tested and proven to be acceptable, the costly imposition will be removed or reduced.

In a free society, private property rights are honored and respected and citizens may immediately move onto their property and begin improvements. In a socialistic society, citizens must always seek permission and it is very difficult for them to navigate government regulations, especially if multiple government agencies or departments are involved.

In a socialistic society, the government may choose the remedies, products, and services, thus picking winners and losers. In such a condition, innovation stalls.

I believe what we have now leans too far towards socialism.

My proposal takes a middle ground and offers the following benefits:
1. No government holdups for subdivision approval after surveying and title work is completed.

2. By default, the most expensive remedies are required until tests prove otherwise (the guilty until proven innocent approach).

This approach may be applied to many county and state requirements for subdivision approval, across several departments, and would help open the door to free-market solution providers and innovative solutions.

I hope this all makes sense. Feel free to ask questions or schedule me for roundtable discussions.

Sincerely,

Robert Stevens

How Did Humans Survive Without Modern Waste Water Treatment?

by Robert John Stevens, September 8, 2017

I was denied an appeal on Wednesday from a board of four Utah County residents, one was Larry Ellertson a former Utah County Commissioner. I hope my follow-up email, also posted below, offers insight.

Dear Craig (Bostock), Jason (Garrett), Ralph (Clegg) and Carl (Hollan),

Congratulations again on denying my appeal on Wednesday.

At the taxpayers expense, at least six county employees were paid to be at Wednesday’s meeting plus a county lawyer to represent you. I had no representation.

A woman was there recording the event. I give no authorization for that to be used.

You managed to uphold Jason’s water depth reading of 18″ that Craig then required to be written on my subdivision plat, which reading was observed from a 3′ hole, even though you know there is no precedent in Utah County or Utah State Code that justifies that approach as accurate science.

Within days, the water drained and the hole was empty.

An 18″ water depth will require a $24k waste water treatment system vs one half that cost.

You convinced the appeal board that a gray/black line in the soil represents the water table at some time even though you know the material was never analyzed in a lab, nor do you know if it formed from the Lake Bonneville shoreline 14,500 years ago.

You ignored that confirmation by Hugh Hurlow, Senior Scientist at Utah Geological Survey:

2. When an excavator digs a six-foot trench, I see one or more layers of gray-black sediment in the trench walls. What are those layers and do they help determine previous groundwater levels?

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.

You ignored the fact that the gray/black matter is found at difference depths. What possible explanation could there be for that? Another of Hugh Hurlow’s answers:

4. Why does the depth of those layers differ in nearby trenches? For example, the layers in two holes dug 280 feet apart differ by 10 inches.

That is not a huge difference geologically, but reasons for the difference may include variation in the land surface during the time the layers were deposited (for example, a slight hill/depression that was submerged beneath an older, larger version of Utah lake), or differential subsidence of the land surface after the layers were deposited, or they are not exactly the same layer.

You convinced the appeal board that water depth can be higher for a lot in the middle of two others of lower depth even though you know that water depth follows the slope of the land and my three lots are relatively flat.

You used fear and told the elderly appeal board that using the same waste water treatment you approved for both neighboring lots would be insufficient and may contaminate the underground water when you know if waste water ever reached the underground well depth of 140 feet deep, it would be filtered.

Craig then used more fear and said waste water may reach Utah Lake and contaminate that water when you know that treated and untreated human waste has been dumped into Utah Lake for decades and that animal and farm waste contaminates our streams.

You also know that until recently, probably all of your ancestors back to Adam dumped waste on their own property but somehow they survived long enough to reproduce and you exist; however you would probably not exist if government regulations made it impossible for them to immediately move onto their land.

You tossed out the entire year of official water depth testing on my lot using pedometers by claiming tests are only good for five years.

Jason claimed the ground was dry when he observed water in a 3′ hole even though he knew it was the wettest winter snow melt off since 1983, and even if there wasn’t mud on his boots the ground underneath was soaked and draining.

I had hoped that the discussion would have revolved around possible lower-cost remedies such as:
A. Till the ground so the dirt soaks up future moisture
B. Install an underground lateral pipe back to the manhole for gravity-fed draining
C. Install a sump pump at the lowest point and pump water uphill to the manhole
D. How to convince UDOT to cover the pipe under 7300 South that conveys flood water across the street to my lot

I had hoped that new, innovative remedies would have been proposed by you.

Installing an alternative waste-water system was never the issue–stamping my plat with an 18″ reading, upholding phony science and unscientific water depth testing was.

You read Utah State Code saying water depth can be determined by a black line without giving me a copy to read and cross examine.

Two of the four board members upheld you even though one had trouble keeping awake during the meeting.

By default, you were right and I had to prove you wrong, not the other way around as it should be.

If you must comply with one-size-fits all state code then why do you have 290 pages of county land-use ordinances?

Did the Founding Fathers establish a system of government to create top-down laws on all issues? Or should lower levels of government be given the freedom to override upper levels wherever the U.S. and state Constitutions not apply?

Or are constitutions dead? Unalienable rights certainly are or you would have recognized and defended my property rights.

Because property rights are basically dead, the state giveth and the state taketh away.

Isn’t one of the purposes of smaller governments to welcome innovation and function as incubators? How can that be one with crippling regulations at every level?

Again, congratulations on your victory. You ignored previous water depths and chose the one you wanted at the expense of plausibility, sound reasoning and liberty.

I’ve concluded my reasoning isn’t enough and that I need basic legal and presentation skills or a good lawyer.

No waste water treatment system is perfect. None can protect against mother nature or biblical events like the recent two trillion gallons of water that rained upon Houston.

Good government recognizes there is a tradeoff between protecting health and protecting private property which allows people to live on their land and make improvements without government interference.

God intended us to live our lives by the sweat of our brow and by living on our own property.

Utah County’s massive regulations have kept us from living on our own land for fourteen years. All I can do is fight, make serial improvements and sell parcels to pay for the development costs.

Sometimes an old man parks his car on our land. His family farmed it and lived there before government interference. They had no waste water treatment system and drank from a shallow well.

Five of our seven kids are now grownups and never learned the meaning of hard work that comes from living on one’s farm.

How will you defend your actions and the corrupt regulations you uphold at Judgment Day?

I have included Hugh’s email response in its entirely below for your review.

Sincerely,

Robert Stevens


Responses from Hugh Hurlow, April 10, 2017 to my questions below:

1. How may I best determine the groundwater table at any given location?
The U.S. Geological Survey publishes groundwater levels at https://maps.waterdata.usgs.gov/mapper/. Select Utah from the Search by State/Territory pulldown menu, then zoom to your area. In the lower-left part of the screen, select Groundwater Sites, and under that select both Active and Inactive Sites, and you will see quite a lot of sites in your area. You can view and download the data for any given well by clicking on the teardrop, then on Access Data in the window that appears. The Active sites are good because they show historical trends and include the most recent data.

2. When an excavator digs a six-foot trench, I see one or more layers of gray-black sediment in the trench walls. What are those layers and do they help determine previous groundwater levels?
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.

3. If those layers do provide evidence of historic groundwater levels, how can I determine the age and duration of those levels?
Layers like that can sometimes be dated by small fossils (bivalves) called ostracodes, either by paleontology or the chemical composition of their shells, or by radiocarbon dating of woody material if preserved. These are pretty specialized and expensive techniques, so you would need to get in touch with someone from one of the local Universities that are interested in dating the layers. You could call the geololgy departments to see if anyone works on lake history and see if they want to look at the trench. The ages would more likely relate to the history of Holocene (younger than about 10,000 years) or Pleistocene lakes than groundwater.

4. Why does the depth of those layers differ in nearby trenches? For example, the layers in two holes dug 280 feet apart differ by 10 inches.
That is not a huge difference geologically, but reasons for the difference may include variation in the land surface during the time the layers were deposited (for example, a slight hill/depression that was submerged beneath an older, larger version of Utah lake), or differential subsidence of the land surface after the layers were deposited, or they are not exactly the same layer.

5. What other evidences may I use to determine current and historic groundwater depths because digging trenches present many variables to consider such as the pressure of the incoming water, the saturation of the dirt and the dirt’s ability to transport the water out versus up?
Search the Active Sites in the U.S. Geological Survey NWIS cited above, and find the well(s) with the longest time record. Some of them could go back to the late 1930s. Alternatively, if you are interested in pre-historic groundwater levels, I think that one or two of the professors at BYU has been interested in using old thermal spring deposits to look at past lake level, groundwater, and climate history. Try Greg Carling or Steve Nelson in the Geology Department.

Hemp for Victory But Not for Utah Dogs

In 1942, the U.S. Department of Agriculture created a film to urge farmers to grow more hemp since it was needed in many war-time and civilian products.

Utah, the state that should better, the majority still Mormon and well aware of the Mormon doctrines that God made everything for the use of man, probably under pressure from dog food competitors, banned hemp for dog food.

God man hemp for the use of man.

Read No more pot for pets? Utah prohibits hemp in pet food
See Also:

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

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.

Appeal to Utah County Health Department for their Unfair Practice

by Robert Stevens, December 8, 2016

Letter to the Utah County Health Department:

Dear … (names removed),

Because the Utah County Health Department (UCHD) claims the below-surface water depth of my 5.25-acre parcel measured 32 inches vs 34 inches, the future homeowner must pay an additional $5k for his sewage system according to excavator Brian Sorensen’s estimate.

This policy is not consistent with fairness. Please consider my appeal:

1. Would a better policy be to take the average of all four measurements?

Notice the attached UCHD measurements were 54″ in October, 44″ in March, 32″ in July, 59″ in September and 51″in December. UCHD chose the 32″ measurement that penalizes.

2. Should measurements be avoided during flood irrigation months?

In July Strawberry Water discharged tens of thousands of gallons of water onto that parcel. Suppose UCHD purposely measured ground-water levels the same or next day after parcels are flood irrigated, wouldn’t they all fail?

3. Notice in September, near the end of the previous irrigation season, the water level dropped to 59″ — What can we conclude from that steep drop?

4. Because the PVC test pipe was not encased in gravel, its holes eventually became clogged–perhaps with mud, debris, dead animals and/or by a youth prank. We then dug a trench next to it and confirmed the water level was far below the surface as expected.

5. At the time of these measurements, UCHD measured underground water levels four times a year. Now they measure monthly, increased fees by $250 and increased their odds of penalizing the landowner.

6. To re-test and monitor for another year puts landowners another year closer to their water rights expiring.

7. Human waste on farms and gardens is desirable. In fact, neighbor Bill Robinson fertilizes his entire 35-acre farm with human waste from Orem.

8. There is no evidence that sewage will contaminate the underground water that is 145-feet below the surface and constantly flowing.

9. UCHD’s measurements did not match my measurements. As much as we trust and admire Brian who took the measurement, we have no proof it was done correctly.

10. Government-run tasks are not accountable. UCHD has nothing to lose by decreeing their verdict. Since there were no checks in place to verify the accuracy of the measurements, should we accept UCHD’s policy or give the landowner the benefit of the doubt?

11. Governments want to protect us from ourselves and everything but most religions teach that God wants us to suffer and address pains or needs—perhaps so we think and create solutions of value.

12. UCHD regulations and Utah County’s 270 pages of land-use ordinances have resulted in almost no new farms in decades. They do successfully use the force of government to shut out new, emerging farm competitors.

Please average your water depth measurements, lower your fees, return to measuring less frequently, and establish fair checks and balances.

A better approach is to get out entirely of the business of policing the lives of landowners with ever-increasing regulations and honor inalienable rights and free markets.

Let us remember the golden rule and hope God doesn’t embrace UCHD’s approach for Judgment Day or he may damn us all according to the worst thing we do in our lives.

Thank you again for visiting with me yesterday. We had a good discussion.

Best Regards,

Robert Stevens

Should Regulations be Gradually Mandated Only as the Population per Square Mile Increases?

by Robert John Stevens, December 1, 2016

Utah County, where I live, needs more sophisticated scrutiny of subdivision regulations so farmers can build on their own land without incurring huge expenses and years of kicking against the pricks.

Ezra Taft Benson said it best—If an individual citizen requests something of his neighbor and his neighbor refuses, is he justified to use the force of government to make his neighbor comply?

If we started government over again and Utah County was only populated by a few families, at what point would we mandate Utah County’s current 270-pages of land-use ordinances upon each other?

Here’s an idea—if regulations are to exist, what if they are gradually mandated only as the population per square mile increases?

See Report: Utah needs more sophisticated scrutiny of business regulations

Big-Guns Matt Gephardt Needed to Free Utah County Landowners from Tyranny

by Robert John Stevens, September 20, 2016. Letter emailed today to Matt Gephardt at KUTV:

Dear Matt Gephardt,

We desperately need your help.

Utah County refuses to allow most landowners to build on their own land unless they first build, pave and dedicate a road to Utah County—an undertaking which is financially impossible for most.

For example, I spent almost $200k improving two 5.25-acre parcels with water rights, power, natural gas, cable, laser leveling, a paved driveway and wells but Utah County refuses to grant subdivision approval because my driveways must pass thru 24-feet of my paved interior road to connect to the UDOT-approved road segment I had built.

As Utah County Attorney Robert Moore told me and Utah County employee Brandon Larsen, “We don’t like people building in Utah County.”

Please take this case and alert the public to take action and free Utah County landowners from government tyranny.

—Robert Stevens
CC: Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee who fights daily to protect constitutional rights

Utah County Denies Landowners the Right to Build