SPANISH FORK — It's tough to fight City Hall.

A group of Spanish Fork residents learned that lesson Tuesday when they tried to derail a proposal to build an apartment complex in their neighborhood.

The east-bench residents don't want a housing complex for the elderly built in their part of town.

On Tuesday, they pleaded with the City Council to reduce the size of the planned building — but city leaders upheld the Planning Commission decision.

Arguing that the planned 41-unit structure on 1.4 acres was incompatible with the single-family community, resident Gordon Jones said it also failed to meet city requirements.

Jones' neighbor, Patty Esch, appealed the planners' approval of the federally funded senior retirement home.

Esch says there isn't enough land to build an apartment complex.

And she claims the number of people who be living at the complex exceeds city codes by 10 times, the two-story design doesn't fit the neighborhood and it fails to meet zoning requirements for retirement homes.

The compatibility argument was new to the discussion. It wasn't brought up when the Planning Commission approved the senior apartments, Jones said.

The council couldn't reject the project but could add requirements, City Attorney Junior Baker said.

Jones asked the council to require Community Housing Services to cut the building down to a single story, reduce the building-to-lot ratio from 49 percent to 20 percent and shrink the number of apartments to better fit in with its surroundings.

If the council went along with Jones' request, "we'd have to find another site," said Phil Carroll, president of Community Housing Services, which is building the complex.

The council struggled with how to define compatibility before voting to approve the many-gabled apartment complex. Compatibility was resolved in the 19 conditions the Planning Commission imposed on the project, city planner Emil Pierson said.


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