The planned site for a masonry wall between a future K mart store in Farmington and adjacent homes will not be moved to save a row of trees, but the builder will be asked to dig carefully to avoid damaging the tree roots.

And a chain link fence around the store's garden center will be screened, the Farmington City Council agreed after another in a series of public hearings on the controversial development's site plan.Neighbors in the subdivision just west of the project at Shepard Lane and U.S. 89 appealed several stipulations in the city-approved site plan, mostly dealing with aesthetic and landscaping issues.

Nichole Green and DeeAnn Felt asked that the masonry buffer wall on the site's west side be moved east about 15 feet. Building it at its approved location will require removal of a row of mature cottonwood trees, they told the council.

They also asked the city to require more landscaping around the store's perimeter along Shepard Lane and U.S 89, that the landscape berm be a minimum of 4 feet high, and for better screening of the store's outdoor garden shop.

Green showed the council photos she took of similar garden shops, depicting their use for storage during the off-season. The items stored there make it unsightly and unattractive, Green said.

Council members agreed with that request, stipulating that the garden store fencing be screened with nylon or canvas.

Although sympathetic to Green's request that the wall be moved to save the trees, the council agreed the wall belongs on the property's far west edge. The developer, GFI III, will be asked to dig the wall's footings carefully during construction to do as little damage to the trees as possible, the council agreed.

As for Green's and Felt's request for more and bigger trees on the berms, and higher screening berms, the council decided the requirements in place are sufficient.

Berms that are too tall become a traffic hazard, blocking the view of drivers as they exit the parking lot onto the street, city planner Craig Hinckley said.

Green said higher berms and more trees will more effectively screen the store and parking lot, she said. "If the community wanted the K mart, the lower berming would be all right," Green said. "But the community doesn't want the K mart, so anything you can do to help screen us from it would be nice."

Construction of the K mart on the corner, due to begin this spring, has been a source of controversy in the city. Some residents have objected to the store on the basis that it doesn't fit into the city's lifestyle.

That attitude, in turn, has brought criticism from residents of nearby communities, charging Farmington is elitist and, in the words of one Kaysville resident, "snooty."

Jim Talbot, the project developer and a new resident of Farmington, said he's attended numerous City Council and Planning Commission hearings and site plan reviews since the project was proposed last October.

The landscaping and aesthetic stipulations required by the city are the stiffest he's ever run into, Talbot said, adding the city has been meticulous about enforcing its architectural review and control ordinances.

"I'm new to Farmington," Talbot told the council. "I would like to comment that the residents, the way the City Council, the way everyone has handled themselves on this issue has been remarkable."