Ex-Rep. Hansen aims high with tombstone

Council has last word on whether he can top limit
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This is a story about bodacious tombstones and who should be allowed to supersize theirs.

The Farmington City Council will vote tonight on whether former U.S. Rep. James V. Hansen, who served 11 consecutive terms from 1981 to 2003 - can get a taller grave marker than the average plot in the city's cemetery.

Farmington had previously capped headstone heights at 36 inches, with no option for a variance. But that changed with a 3-2 vote in February. Hansen had requested that the City Council revise the ordinance to allow more stately monuments where warranted.

Hansen's political career spanned several decades. He spent 12 years on the Farmington City Council through the 1960s and early 1970s, and was a member of Utah's House from 1973 to 1980. He served as speaker from 1979 to 1980.

The Farmington Republican is still very much alive.

A Feb. 23 letter Hansen sent to City Manager Max Forbush requested an extra 8 inches - Hansen planned to pattern his marker after the headstone marking the final resting spot of former Utah Gov. Scott Matheson in the Parowan Cemetery.

"I do not consider myself in any way special over any other citizen, but some of the positions I have held apparently are considered special by many people," wrote Hansen.

Farmington Mayor Scott Harbertson said one reason marker height had been capped was to prevent interference with sprinklers.

Not a problem, wrote the former Beltway insider. He offered to pay for the relocation of the sprinkler in question.