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Sandy City Council Adopts Housing Option for Dimple Dell

Jul 01, 2016 09:31AM ● Published by Chris Larson

By Chris Larson | chris.larson@mycityjournals.com


The Sandy City Council voted to adopt a traditional layout housing option with higher than normal setbacks for the Dimple Dell Overlay Zone proposal. 

A special council comprised of Councilmember Chris McCandless and Council Chair Kris Coleman-Nicholl and a couple of residents in the area, chaired by planning commission member Scott Sabey, convened seven times to discuss the possibility of a mandatory overlay for new development after the planning commission denied Ivory Homes’ application to rezone four parcels of in the south part of the park to PUD.

Zoning Administrator Brian McCuiston presented two options from the overlay committee to the council that would affect properties surrounding Dimple Dell Park: one allowed for cluster housing but required about 30 percent of the subdivision to be dedicated to open space below the rim of the park, and the other called for traditional subdivisions with half-acre lots and larger setbacks that would allow development to extend to the private property lines already in the park. 

However, the planning commission submitted the recommendation to the council to drop the cluster option because smaller lots and more homes would fundamentally change the character of the neighborhood. 

However, an amendment was added late in the meeting to limit the Dimple Dell Overlay Zone to the properties listed on a map presented to the council that fall into the park itself.

McCuiston said the committee’s purpose was to determine how to both protect the park and the neighborhood as development pressures for the area mounted, purposes that Councilmember Maren Barker said appeared “diametrically opposed to each other.”

Residents’ comments were split along whether it was better to make attempts to better protect the park’s beauty or how to protect the current “open” or “rural” feel of the properties in the area. 

“The proposal where they would build … down in Dimple Dell is a disgrace,” resident Larry Newton said. “I enjoy riding and seeing the beauty of the park and I don’t want to see those homes encroach on that area of the park even if they are on private property.”

The overlay zone would apply to Sandy City properties that would attempt to develop or redevelop.

According to exhibits posted to the city council’s website, Plan A allows for a traditional subdivision layout and provides special provisions for cluster housing plans in properties facing Dimple Dell Road. Plan B specifically forbids the cluster housing between 1700 East and 2000 East along Dimple Dell Road. 

Both plans specify increased setbacks for properties adjacent to the park and Dimple Dell Road. 

Plan A setback requirements range from 20 to to 40 feet for regular subdivisions and cluster setbacks range from 20 to 30 feet.

Plan B offers the same setbacks for regular subdivisions and offers no specifications for cluster housing. It also set the one-half acre as the lot minimum for subdivisions.

The Plan A open-space specifications require developments to maintain 30 percent dedicated open space abutting the park. Cluster divisions may allow for lots as small as 50 percent of the underlying zone with the approval of the planning commission. But, the average lot size has to be 75 percent of the the underlying zone minimum lot size. 

McCandless voted against adopting the traditional overlay. 

He said that allowing for the cluster option was a clear attempt to protect the park, a Sandy-exclusive park that’s enjoyed by many residents and visitors who don’t live near the park. He also entertained the idea that developers deed abutting open space to the park in exchange for the cluster housing above the rim of the park. 

“We don’t have any money,” McCandless said in response to the city buying certain properties. “Last year, we increased property taxes by $9 a month, on average, per household and we beat to death.”

Coleman-Nicholl, who was in favor of protecting the neighborhood, said the new layover zone will preserve the unique character reminiscent of the culture of the area, which includes the “animal” designation that allows people to house horses and other large animals on their property. 

McCandless said that Dimple Dell Park is Sandy’s Central Park and the zoning efforts are up to the whims of the council as it changes members over time. He called for a permanent solution that provides “rim-to-rim” protection. 

Councilmember Steve Fairbanks expressed disdain for both plans and voted against Plan B. He said that most speaking to the council would like to see larger minimums for developed property, but also saw the market demand to live near the park but not in a rural setting. 

“The prospect of developing below the rim troubles me,” Councilmember Stephen Smith said. “It’s unfortunate that the county wasn’t more visionary as to where things would go and didn’t take steps to preserve [Dimple Dell Park].”

 Smith voted for Plan B, in part because he didn’t approve of the calculation of the cluster property in Plan A and he felt Plan B was more or less a status-quo movement.      λ

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