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Dimple Dell Overlay Zone Back in Discussion as a Possible Permanent Zone Change

Aug 03, 2016 09:28AM ● Published by Chris Larson

By Chris Larson | chris.larson@mycityjournals.com


Sandy, Utah - The once defunct Dimple Dell Overlay Zone is back in another form for consideration at the behest of the Sandy City Council. 

Chairman Kris Coleman-Nicholl said she would direct city administration to bring a permanent zone change proposal—rather than a overlay zone—for the properties that border the Dimple Dell Park to the council for formal consideration in the June 28 City Council meeting. 

The city will take no formal action on the issue until July 19 when both Councilpersons Chris McCandless and Maren Barker return to council duties. They did not attend the June 28 meeting. 

“What I see an overlay zone doing is allowing you to manipulate the zoning that could change pretty dramatically the nature or complex of an area,” Councilman Scott Cowdell said, elaborating on why he would rather simply change the permanent zone. 

Cowdell continued on saying that the contour of the Dimple Dell area dictated what was possible for development in greater measure than what zoning allows.

Assistant Department Director James Sorenson then explained that unique zoning for any area may have unintended consequence when applied to a zoning category that may exist in a different part of the city.  

He also said overlay zones may be the best way to create area specific zoning changes. 

The council continued to question if overlay zones are required or optional for development. Sorenson said that a developer has the option of following the underlying, base zone as it is often assumed that the base zone is more preferable to the city’s desires for an area. 

Cowdell suggested the city simply wait for rezoning applications to come from developer rather than taking action on the Dimple Dell area. 

“But there is no protection right now,” Nicholl said. “It’s being challenged every month.” 

Much of previous discussion on Dimple Dell area zoning attempted to balance protecting the nature of the park, protecting the existing neighborhood and protecting developer’s rights. 

Cowdell implied there is the possibility of a court challenge on the zoning if the city repeatedly denies applications. 

Councilman Steve Fairbanks and Sorenson agreed that previous overlay zones often include deals with developers to make exceptional accommodations to the what the city wants to see in an area to get desired zoning.  

Any changes to zoning in the area would require the zoning process would have to start over, including posting public notice to the area and allowing public comment in both the Planning Commission and before the City Council.

Cowdell said he is open to a discussing a permanent zone change but was wary of resident reaction of continuing the public hearing process after previously denying two previous overlay proposals. 

“I just hate to say ‘Let’s do that’ and the residents come back and say ‘You voted against that. Why is it happening?’” Cowdell said. 

The city council denied an Ivory Homes application for a rezone of four contiguous plots that dip into the Dimple Dell to housing the placed one-third to quarter acre lots on top of the rim of the park in exchange for dedicated open space adjacent to the park nine months ago.

In response, the city formed a special committed that included Nicoll, McCandless, members of the Planning Commission and residents of the area that came up with two overlay zone options. 

One previous overlay zone option permitted for what they called “cluster housing” on top of the ridge and required that a certain amount of dedicated open space adjacent to or land given to the park. The other allowed for a traditional minimum half-acre lot subdivision with higher than normal set backs, along with other restrictions. 

The council voted to have an ordinance written for the traditional development overlay zone on June 7. But on June 21, the council then voted down the actual ordinance that would have created the overlay zone, much to Nicholl’s disappointment.    

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