KAYSVILLE — With passage of Proposition 5, landscaper Jim Puffer is sorting the logistics of resuming use of the undeveloped plot in Kaysville at the center of the zoning controversy that gave rise to the ballot question.
But though preliminary returns from Tuesday’s voting show Proposition 5 passed by a wide margin, 4,489 votes to 2,796 votes, a 62% to 38% margin, he’s got his concerns. Puffer worries the vote won’t resolve things in the eyes of the most ardent critics of his operation at the 1.5-acre plot.
“We hope to be good neighbors and do everything we’re supposed to,” Puffer’s lawyer, Kelly Macfarlane, said Wednesday.
He wonders, however, whether the neighbors opposed to the operation, the critics who forced the ballot question, will keep up the fight, try other ways to block Puffer from using the land. Indeed, apparent foes of Proposition 5 drove a truck with a large sign reading “NO 5” into the parking lot of Puffer’s landscaping business on Tuesday, Election Day, prompting an alarmed Puffer to call Kaysville Police, he said.
“We took it as a threat and it really frightened my office manager,” Puffer said.
Proposition 5 had asked voters whether a 2017 Kaysville City Council decision rezoning the vacant 1.5-acre parcel for light industrial use from a residential designation should be upheld. Puffer sought the zoning change to use the land, which he acquired in 2016, for storage for his landscaping business, Jim Puffer Landscape. Residents living around the property subsequently pushed for the ballot question, though, saying a light industrial zone doesn’t fit amid the pricey homes in the neighborhood, that the landscaping operation was a noisy nuisance.
Pending resolution of Proposition 5, Puffer has been prohibited from using the land. Once Tuesday’s vote upholding the zoning change is finalized and deemed official, though, Puffer may resume use of the land.
Macfarlane is encouraging Puffer to get the operation going again, and he stressed the many conditions spelled out in the 2017 zoning change meant to protect adjacent neighbors. Puffer has already spent $154,000 to comply with the restrictions, Macfarlane said, and he suspects another $100,000 in work still has to be done, including installation of fencing and other buffers and more.
Still, Macfarlane also raised the specter of continued skirmishes with neighbors. “Will it ever be enough?” he said.
As for Tuesday’s incident, Puffer said the truck with the “NO 5” sign entered the parking lot of his business and that the driver subsequently put the vehicle in reverse to activate the warning beep that sounds when it’s in that gear. His office manager locked the business’s doors, worried.
Macfarlane charges that Kaysville City Councilman Dave Adams, an ardent Proposition 5 foe, was behind the matter. Adams, though, when asked questions about his involvement by the Standard-Examiner did not clearly answer.
“There’s a lot of false accusations and drama,” he said. He had been driving the truck around downtown Kaysville, he said, but he wasn’t the only one.
Lt. Shawn McKinnon, of the Kaysville Police Department, said police took a report on the matter, but that he can’t say at this stage whether Adams was or wasn’t involved. No charges have been filed in the matter.
Adams, meantime, announced that a reward of $2,500 is being offered for information on who may have taken around 65 “No to Prop 5” yard signs that apparently disappeared during the election.