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Clearfield boosts size of home finished space

Action will keep 'starter homes' out of certain areas

CLEARFIELD — The City Council wants wealthier residents.

It has voted to boost the required finished floor area for a single-family multilevel residence from 1,200 to 1,500 square feet.

The change will put a stop to "starter homes" in specific residential zones, said planning and zoning administrator Kent Bush.

Gary M. Wright, division manager for Ivory Homes, the state's largest homebuilder, said he expects the amendment will increase home prices in some areas anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000.

"It will price out first-time buyers," he said.

Councilman Dave Monson, who opposed the amendment, said he was torn between having a better class of home in the city and protecting people's property rights.

Monson said he recognizes the change will raise the average income level of city residents and allow Clearfield families wanting to upgrade from their starter home a place to move without having to leave the city.

But he is concerned because the average resident only has so much money.

"There are a lot of people that can't afford to build a big home," said Monson.

Bush said the change, which begins this month, brings to its remaining undeveloped residential space what he refers to as "nicer homes."

"We've got a lot of houses under 1,200 square feet and a lot under 1,000 square feet. That use to be the standard thing," Bush said of homes built 50 years ago.

But with the city at about 75 percent build-out, city leaders want to make sure developers are building upscale homes on what land remains.

"I haven't heard any of the builders complain," Bush said.

Clearfield resident Doug Sherwin, the only one to speak against the change at a hearing last week, said he believes government should not be able to dictate the size of someone's home.

Ivory Homes officials said Clearfield was the only Davis County city they were aware of with a home-size minimum, although other cities do have lot-size minimums.

Ivory Homes has two developments under way in Clearfield.

Wright said the amended zoning ordinance will have no impact on a 90-home upscale subdivision being built on 30 acres near the Freeport Center. He said homes in that subdivision will sell in excess of $180,000 each.

However, the change may affect 20 lots Ivory Homes is developing in a subdivision east of State Street just off 1000 East, Wright said. There, homes were to sell for an average of $120,000, he said.

Councilman James Barlow defends the change, contending Clearfield already has its share of starter homes.