BLACKFOOT – The start of the next chapter in the SewMine company founded and operated by the Mcglaughlan family has come following a decision to approve a Conditional Use Permit from the Blackfoot Planning and Zoning Commission.
Commissioner Ron Ramirez made it clear at the beginning of the meeting last week that he would be recusing himself from voting on the subject because of an ex parte communication that he did not want to take part in was put before him in a group conversation.
Jordan Mcglaughlan approached the commission requesting a conditional use permit to operate a home-based business out of his basement where he would not only employ four local people but would also indirectly be employing other members of the community because of a partnership forged with Dawn Enterprises.
SewMine is a customized baby blanket business that was the brainchild of Lindsey, Jordan’s wife. They started their business out of their home in 2014 in their previous neighborhood and it took off. The business, like their family, has continued to grow, and now the proud parents of three girls are stepping into the big leagues with their business.
Jordan made it clear that he hopes to one day grow large enough to move out of the home and into a more commercial location, but at this time, working from home is the best option for the two of them.
During his presentation to the commission, he addressed all of the code requirements of a home-based business that has employees. In fact, he would not need to request a CUP if he did not have employees, but because they have been able to grow to this point, they hired four people but in the process had to request the permit.
Going above and beyond, Jordan purchased a calibrated decibel meter to alleviate any concerns of his soon-to-be new neighbors. When he received the decibel meter, he started with a basic test — nothing running, just the noise of the neighborhood, which registered at 44 decibels. He then did a series of tests, all at one foot away from the machines they use to create their blankets, all of which came back within 10 decibels of the control in his experiment.
Moreover, only one machine was able to change the reading behind a closed door, and that was two decibels. While Jordan addressed the commission, he had the meter with him at the podium and made it a point to note that he was closer to 70 decibels when speaking to them in efforts of painting a clear picture.
Once he completed his presentation, the board turned the time over to those in support of the application through public hearing. Two neighbors, Donnelle Trenner and Brent Van Dyke, spoke about how quiet the Mcglaughlans are, and that neither one of them have ever been bothered by them. Rather, they both work different schedules than a 9-5, with Trenner working swings at the Idaho National Labs and Van Dyke works whatever he is assigned. To note, he had just gotten off shift shortly before the SewMine CUP was presented and stopped by to support the Mcglaughlans. No others would speak in favor of the home-based business, and the time would then turn to neutral and then to those in opposition.
The people who spoke in opposition were concerned about increased traffic through the neighborhood as well as noise, clutter, and their original Home Owners Association convenance (CCNR). City Attorney Garrett Sandow made it clear that the commission does not take civil matters into account as that is out of the scope of the commission as well as any city decision. CCNRs are not a legal document that stops a city from granting any permit, and are dealt with in civil court.
As for the clutter and sound, Jordan had previously explained that there would be next to zero noise pollution, and has plans of adding a better door to the garage to aid in prevention of any sound problems. As for the waste, he has an enclosed dump trailer that he plans to have parked behind the home where all waste will be put and taken to the transfer station.
Van Dyke expressed earlier that the trailer was always clean and that he had just thought they parked it back there to keep it out of the way. Lee Nelson, one of those who spoke in opposition, made it clear that he will fight it civilly if he is forced to do so, and Mark Collard stated that he thinks it creates a slippery slope allowing SewMine to enter their neighborhood. He went on to register a complaint that the trailer is not part of the structure and that it invalidates the request.
Once these concerns were heard by the commission, they went on to the discussion. Commissioner Ramirez stayed quiet through the discussion, and Chairperson Marilyn Jefferis spoke first. Jefferis expressed that she understood their concern, but could not find anywhere in the code that would prevent them from having their business. She went on to compliment the Maglaughlans for their due diligence on the application, and claimed that it was one of the most in-depth ones she has seen. Comments were also made by the commissioners regarding his contracting with Dawn Enterprises as being a big boon to the community and increasing jobs in the area.
Despite the opposition during the hearing, the board voted unanimously in favor, with Ramirez not voting.