By Myrna Trauntvein
The Nephi City Council could not legally impose a moratorium on fees charged for building in subdivisions and commercial areas.
The council had discussion two weeks ago about the deposit and charges for vicinity/concept subdivisions, preliminary plat review, a final plat review and a site plan review.
The council wanted to stop developers from coming in and getting the work done at the old fees which were not generating enough money to pay for the staff work required before the new fees could be agreed upon and adopted.
The moratorium on fees had problems, however.
“There were some procedural problems,” said Kasey Wright, city council attorney. “There were four hurdles and we made it past three of them.”
Greg Rowley, council member, wanted to “avoid a rush on the store” and made the motion to call for a two-week moratorium which was adopted by a vote of the council.
The hope was, that until the fees were approved by the council, a moratorium would hold any new proposals at bay.
Meanwhile, since there was no actual moratorium in place, two proposals came into the city. They had to be honored at the earlier price.
It was hoped that the council could keep subdividers and commercial/industrial developments who heard that the fees were going to change from hurrying in to buy at the original prices.
Part of the problem, said Wright, was that the city should have passed a resolution, not an amendment to the ordinance on fees.
An ordinance, or an amendment to it, cannot go into effect until the mayor signs it and it is published. A resolution can.
The mayor was out of town when the motion was made.
“Therefore,” said Wright, “the moratorium could not go into effect until it was no longer needed.”
It would have taken too long to get it signed and then published for it to have been of any value.
It is to be noted that a municipal ordinance differs from a resolution. They are two significantly distinct government actions. The term “ordinance” means something more than a mere verbal motion or resolution.
It must be carried out with the formalities, solemnities, and characteristics of an ordinance, as distinguished from a simple motion or resolution.
A resolution encompasses all actions of the municipal body other than ordinances.
A resolution deals with matters of a special or temporary character and an ordinance prescribes some permanent rule of conduct or government to continue in force until the ordinance is repealed.
An ordinance is a legislative act and a resolution is an expression of opinion or mind or policy concerning some particular item of business coming within the legislative body’s official cognizance.
It is to be noted that an ordinance can be repealed only by another ordinance and not by resolution.
“In addition, said Wright, “it was a land use regulation in the form of a moratorium that was being proposed.”
A temporary land use regulation may be adopted when there is an emergency situation or a compelling reason that requires immediate action. While the temporary regulation is in place, the local government has time to address the situation through the normal process.
Land use ordinances put into place by government include requirement of permits and codes created to ensure private use of land resources are aligned with policy standards. Some forms of land use regulations include housing codes, regulations for subdivisions, zoning ordinances, and building codes.
“It was also not on the agenda,” said Wright.
Although, he said, that could be worked out because the topic of raising the fees was on the agenda.
“Since the two proposals came in and we did not really have a moratorium, will they pay the old fees?” asked Kent Park, council member.
That was the case, said Wright. The previous fee schedule would apply.
Nephi City has many subdivisions and commercial/industrial developments within city limits and a change in fees needed to be adopted in order for the city to cover actual costs.
Tuesday the council adopted a resolution to make it official to amend the fees charged. As of the passage of the fee schedule, those new fees are in place.4>