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Fruit Heights delays zoning action

FRUIT HEIGHTS — A controversial rework of a residential zoning ordinance was shelved this past week after the City Council and the Planning Commission decided the proposal created too many unanswered questions.

As a result, a public hearing planned for last Thursday night was canceled.

Planning Commission member Frank Leaver early in the meeting asked fellow commissioners to consider what they were trying to do with the new ordinance.

"My concern is we are trying to use the (ordinance) to increase density, and that's a wrong thing," he said.

City Planner Jeff Oyler responded by reading the purpose of the planned residential unit development ordinance: " . . . to provide greater flexibility in the location of buildings on the land, consolidation of open spaces and the clustering of dwelling units. These provisions are intended to create attractive and desirable environments within the residential areas of Fruit Heights city."

Mayor Rick L. Miller said after the meeting that Fruit Heights' 5,000 residents like the city's rural atmosphere and any city zoning laws must take that into account. "We struggled with our ordinance. The easy-to-develop property has already been developed; now we're left with some challenges." U.S. 89 splits the city with much of the part east of 89 having steep grades.

Miller expects the ordinance to be reworked and approved within a few months.

As proposed, the ordinance would have allowed population densities per acre ranging from 1.5 to 8 people. Design options by developers would have allowed increased densities of up to 50 percent, which became a sticking point for some commission members, although Oyler and commission member Keith Majors said that an increased density was unlikely because of necessary road construction and other improvements.

Dan Phelps, a developer and commission member, moved to postpone Thursday's public hearing.

"We need to give the public more time for comments," he said. "I think a field trip would be helpful. We could see good and bad examples of subdivisions."


E-mail: lweist@desnews.com