Council Approves Rezone for Fratelli Ristorante Property
Aug 22, 2016 04:28PM
● By Chris Larson
Brothers Dave Cannell, left, and Pete Cannella, right, address the Sandy City Council on Aug. 9, explaining their plan to build a new restaurant at the vacant lot on 1420 E. Sego Lily Dr. if the city approved their rezone application. – Chris Larson
The Sandy City Council approved the rezone of the empty lot, located at 1420 E. Sego Lily Dr., allowing the local, family-owned Fratelli Ristorante to build a new location in a 4-3 vote.
Homeowners in the area opposed the rezone, saying in a public hearing the rezone forces them to live with an unfair burden from an encroaching commercial venture that could bring problems like increased traffic and noise to the neighborhood.
The applicants, Dave Cannell and Pete Cannella, still have to get a site plan approved before building on the property. Cannell said he is confident the site planning will be approved based on positive feedback from city staff.
Purchasing the property and trying to get it rezoned has prompted accusation against the brothers of having an inside track with the council and the commission.
The staff and commission have forwarded a positive recommendation of approval for the area, saying it fits the master plan and is not an unmitigated risk for the area.
The Cannell brothers defended themselves from implications of insider dealings with the planning committee and the city council.
Addressing the city council in the public hearing, Cannella said they knew it was a risk buying the property and attempting to rezone it to accommodate the business, rather than buying in an existing zone.
“My brother and I grew up five minutes from where we want to put this restaurant,” Cannell said in an interview. “The whole purpose of building on that property is to give Sandy City and its resident something we don’t have here.”
The simple appearance of buying property in specific zone and betting on a rezone, according to some commentators, implies some kind of inside track with the city.
Supporters of the rezone, mostly patrons and friends of the Cannells, said Fratelli Ristorante is only one of a few locally owned and operated restaurants in Sandy.
The city council addressed the rezone ordinance in two separate council meetings: the first on Aug. 9 for the city staff presentation and public hearing and a second on Aug. 16 for further debate and deliberation.
The council tabled action on the ordinance until the 16th to allow more members of the council to vote on it. Council members Kris Coleman-Nicholl, District 3, and Linda Martinez Saville, council member at large, were excused from the meeting.
Fratelli Ristorante opened in Nov. 2007 in the Heights on Quarry Bend.
Fratelli is a full-service Italian restaurant, meaning they serve beer, wine and spirits. All of these products require special licensing to be served in a restaurant.
The service of alcohol drew ire from critics, pointing out that city officials have made statements against promoting drunk driving, something they claimed would increase with the addition of the restaurant near a neighborhood.
After the brothers finished their presentation, Chair Stephen Smith, council member at large, laid down “ground rules” for public comment for the Aug. 9 meeting, noting that public hearings can become emotional, asking for general civility.
“Let’s all leave here friends,” Smith said, receiving a few chuckles from the crowd.
Public comment on the rezone centered on the apparent lack of buffer between the eastern Hearthstone Development and a negative traffic impact.
Commenters said the “child heavy” neighborhood is already difficult to traverse during peak traffic hours during normal commute times and during school pick-up and drop-off times due to a nearby school. Having a restaurant near a major intersection could compound the traffic, the commenters said.
But most concerning and common in public comment was the fear that the rezone would allow for unforeseen, much less desirable businesses than Fratelli to set up shop close to a residential area.
As pointed out by several residents, the Commercial District permits several businesses that might be undesirable near a neighborhood like a car wash, self-service automotive shop, hotel or commercial retail and repair shop.
Councilmember Chris McCandless motioned to postpone the rezoning hearing until after the council hears recommendations from the city administration for a new developer agreement ordinance.