Brigham City (Utah). Planning Commission

Entity: 3165
Entity Type: Municipality


The Brigham City council organized the Brigham City planning commission in April 1956. Because Brigham City was experiencing significant growth, the council was anxious to have a detailed study of zoning problems so that changes could be initiated. The city council mandated that the planning commission prepare a master plan for Brigham City. The creation of a planning commission was based on the Municipal Planning Enabling Act (Laws of Utah, 1945, chapter 23). This act authorizes the legislative body of any municipality to organize a planning commission.

Biography/History Notes

According to Utah statute, the primary function of a planning commission is to make a master plan for the physical development of the municipality and present it to the legislative body. The law requires the planning commission to hold public hearings in the process of planning, and authorizes the commission to consider any areas outside municipal boundaries which may have a bearing on the plan. After a master plan has been adopted it may be reviewed and revised, but no development is to be allowed in contradiction to the master plan unless the planning commission expressly approves. The planning commission is also responsible to produce an official map.

During the first three years of its existence the Brigham City planning commission drafted and proposed comprehensive zoning and subdivision ordinances and an official Brigham City map which were adopted by the city council. In 1957 the commission began work on a master plan for the city, and in 1961 employed a professional city planner to assist in this project. The commission presented the first preliminary master plan to the city council in 1962. This plan incorporated plans for a new civic center, a new city hall and an additional park. Concerned about making improvements in downtown Brigham City, the commission sent a delegation to Grand Junction, Colorado to study the downtown improvement projects incorporated in that city. In the mid 1960s the commission members were in conflict over whether to pursue the downtown plan or the civic center plan. After careful review of each plan, the commission opted for the downtown plan. The commission presented the city council with a new master plan in 1970. It emphasized the neighborhood concept of residential living with related schools, parks, and collector streets. During the 1970s the commission was also involved with plans for improving the Brigham City airport. The commission revised and republished the master plan in 1989.

Since adoption and revision of the master plan the planning commission's primary role has shifted to that of evaluating, approving, and coordinating plans for individual development projects. The commission works closely with the public and with other city officers such as the building inspector, city engineer, street supervisor, etc. The commission regularly reports to the city council and makes recommendations related to municipal development.

The Brigham City planning commission consists of nine members. Eight members are appointed by the mayor with the approval of the city council. From among these, one is appointed chairperson and another vice chair. The ninth member of the planning commission is an assigned member of the city council. Planning commissioners are appointed for four year terms and serve without compensation.

Municipal planning commissions are authorized to hire or appoint such officers as necessary to do their work. Shortly after its creation, the Brigham City planning commission hired a city planner. In 1988 the planning commission brought a zoning administrator on board. Until 1990 the city recorder attended all planning commission meetings and recorded minutes for the same, but in that year a planning commission secretary began filling that function.

Once appointed the planning commission adopts its own rules for transacting business. The Brigham City planning commission meets twice monthly. Meetings are limited to two hours, during which subdivision and zoning issues are addressed first, and general planning is considered as time remains. Considerations presented by the public are presented to the city manager's office at least one week in advance, and require the city engineer's approval before planning commission consideration. Originally, a number of city officers, such as the building inspector, etc. attended planning commission meetings, however in the 1990s matters to be brought before the commission became subject to staff review before being considered by the commission.