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HIGHLAND -The controversy over commercial zoning in Highland is over. Well, almost.

Last week, the Planning Commission presented a report to the City Council outlining a new commercial zoning ordinance for the corner of 11060 North and Alpine Highway - the area commonly referred to as Four Corners.Ed Scott of the Planning Commission is responsible for most of the study. He said "the whole political climate in Highland has changed dramatically," referring to new City Council members who favor commercial zoning replacing members of the council who opposed it.

According to the proposed ordinance, retail food stores and small retail outlets would be allowed. Financial and medical-related services would be allowed on a conditional basis, while industry and restaurants would be prohibited.

Scott said the controversy began when Highland became a city in 1977. The main reason it was incorporated was to keep out commercial zoning, and the area was zoned for single-family dwellings.

A few years later a survey asked the residents how they felt about commercial zoning. Although the survey came back in favor of commercial zoning, the city did nothing about it.

Since 1990, the Planning Commission has been assessing the master plan. A short while later, Scott was allowed to distribute a new survey. It came back 2 to 1 in favor of adding commercial zoning. As a result, city officials decided to examine the possibility of commercial zoning.

Scott said the survey also revealed "that 90 percent of the people are vehemently opposed to group homes going into Highland."

This causes a problem for the city because until now, it was able to keep group homes out due to the zoning for single-family dwellings only. But if the city approves commercial zoning, that would change.

Scott said a group home has the right by Utah law to settle in any area other than a single-family-housing zone.

A public hearing is planned Tuesday, June 9, to give residents a chance to let the City Council and the Planning Commission know how they feel about the issue. Afterward, the council will decide on any revisions and hold another public hearing before voting on the ordinance.

Additional information

Proposed commercial zoning

Permitted establishments

- Retail food stores

- Minor services - dry cleaner, copy center or barber shop

- Small retail - florist, video outlet or yogurt shop

- Art and craft galleries

Conditional uses

- Convenience store/gas station

- Financial or legal services - banks or law offices

- Medically related services - doctor's office or physical therapy

Prohibited uses

- Residential development

- Light or heavy industry - manufacturing or assembly factories

- Major service or repair - appliance or auto repair

- Restaurants

- Any other use not allowed as permitted or conditional uses