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CITY UNVEILS DRAFT OF NEW ZONING RULES

A draft of the new zoning ordinance to go along with the city's revamped master plan was unveiled Wednesday but with the disclaimer that more changes are due.

City Planner Greg Comstock described the ordinance as totally new. "Every zoning district has some changes," he said. Some are eliminated and others are added. It will replace all current zoning laws throughout Spanish Fork with 21 zones.The ordinance isn't expected to be passed into law until August. Public hearings should begin in June.

The draft has an eightfold purpose:

- Identify the various zoning districts that will divide the city.

- Govern how land is used, including residential, commercial, office and industrial uses.

- Regulate the height and bulk of buildings and other structures.

- Limit occupancy and size of yards and other open space.

- Establish design and performance standards.

- Establish the boards and commissions related to zoning and define their powers.

- Provide a means of changing zones and standards, along with a variety of permits and variances.

- And finally, prescribe penalties for violating the ordinance.

As with the current law, the draft provides for buildings and land uses that fail to conform to the new law, citing them as legal non-conforming uses, but limits expansion of that use. If a non-conforming building is destroyed by at least half its market value, it can be rebuilt, but at that time must conform to current zoning law, the draft says.

A major change is the addition of a master planned developments section, known as the super block. This concept replaces planned residential developments with master planned communities that could include attached housing, clubhouses, community buildings and recreational facilities.

Conditional use permits are added to the draft. The current ordinance lacks conditional uses, Comstock said.

The ordinance covers how development proceeds, including an expanded process of the current site plan review, called design review. It will determine if a project is consistent with city goals of quality and compatibility.

Design review will also judge whether traffic flow is safe for motorists and pedestrians and that public utilities and service are efficient and aesthetic in more detailed than the current process. In the new laundry list the development review committee must follow is a mandate that mechanical equipment and utility lines be concealed from view.