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Council denies rezone after neighbors object

Feb 22, 2017 11:28AM ● Published by Kelly Cannon

Craig Hinton, a resident from the neighborhood, spoke to the city council against the rezone. (Kelly Cannon/City Journals)

By Kelly Cannon | kelly@mycityjournals.com
 
After members of a neighborhood voiced their opposition, the Sandy City Council voted against rezoning a parcel of land that would’ve increased the number of units per acre by 16. The public hearing took place during the Sandy City Council’s Jan. 31 meeting. The vote was 6-1 with Councilman Chris McCandles being the only vote against the denial.
 
David George with A Better Quality Home had requested to rezone approximately 3.68 acres, located at 789 East 7800 South, from single family residential to a planned unit development. The rezone would have changed the allowed number of units per acre from two units to 18 units.
 
Before being brought to the city council, the planning commission voted unanimously on Dec. 1 against the rezone, citing the plan of 60 townhomes on 3.68 acres being too dense.
 
“The planning commission recommended the city council not approve the request to rezone the property,” said Mike Wilcox, a long-range planning manager. “The overall attitude was the proposal was too dense for the area.”
 
George addressed the council saying there had been several neighborhood meetings between his company and the residents around the property, with some of the meetings becoming “vitriolic” in nature. George said he has been trying to resolve the issues brought up by the neighbors, including having a traffic study conducted. He explained the people who chose to live in the townhomes would be making a lifestyle choice.
 
Neighbors of the property voiced their opposition to the rezone during the nearly two-hour public hearing. Most cited the increased traffic and the increase in crime, both of which are already an issue in the neighborhood.
 
Resident John Yates spoke to the council, saying the plan has a road outlet next to the subdivision he lives in.
 
“That is a blind corner. You can’t possibly see any lanes in front of you to turn,” Yates aid. “It’s very dangerous. It’s really not designed for that kind of traffic.”
 
Resident Ron Nacarado also cited the traffic and the speeding of cars on 7800 South.
“The traffic is going to be considerably more than what it is now and it’s like a freeway now. We can’t get people to slow down to the speed limit,” Nacarado said. “With as many units as they want to have come in, it’s going to increase the traffic and the crime rate. And we have enough of that as it is.”
 
Resident Pat McGregor also spoke against the rezone, saying she would like the development to keep in harmony with the nature of the neighborhood.
 
“Connor Ridge Cove is a beautiful neighborhood. We’d like to see that kind of thing continue on 7800 South,” she said.
 
After the public hearing concluded, the council asked questions of the developer but seemed mostly to be in opposition to the rezone. Councilwoman Kristin Coleman-Nicholl said she used to live in the neighborhood in question, saying it was where she and her husband bought their first home. Coleman-Nicholl acknowledged the concerns of the neighbors, saying they were real.
 
“This community is very well rooted and is generally acceptable of reasonable development. I don’t think this is reasonable development for this neighborhood,” Coleman-Nicholl said. “The density is too high and I’m not in support of it.”
 
Councilman Scott Cowdell also spoke against the rezone, saying 60 units is too high. Cowdell also said there was a serious lack of visitor parking.
 
“I see no visitor parking. That’s ridiculous. I have six children and 20 grandchildren. They come to my house every Sunday,” Cowdell said. “Someone mentioned it would be for empty nesters. Where on earth would empty nesters park their families? I don’t get it. Honestly. I don’t get it.”
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