Council approves lower-density property on Bengal Bend Cove
Aug 22, 2019 12:08PM
By Cassie Goff
With the current zoning, the property owner would have to build a narrow and tall structure. (Cottonwood Heights Planning Commission)
By Cassie Goff | [email protected]
It was a welcome change when a zoning request for lower-density came across the Cottonwood Heights Planning Commission’s and City Council’s desks: especially considering some of the recent controversy regarding high-density zoning and development within the city. The low-density zoning request was for a property on Bengal Bend Cove.
On July 17, the planning commission held a public hearing on the request made by Eric Corbin to change the existing general plan land use from neighborhood commercial to residential low density, and to change the corresponding existing zoning of residential office (RO) to R-1-8 (residential single family).
Every property within the city has both a land use and a zoning designation. Land use, as the name implies, has to do with how the land is managed on any given property, while zoning designations dictate specific construction requirements such as setbacks, building heights and more.
Per the request above, the desired land use designation was residential low density. The city’s general plan defines this as residential areas that contain between two and a half and five dwelling units per acre. Properties that are assigned the residential low density are generally (but not necessarily limited to) neighborhoods consisting of single-family dwellings.
The new land use would replace the previous designation of neighborhood commercial, which is defined as a classification that includes small commercial areas within primarily residential areas. The designation can contain a mix of land uses; however, the businesses are primarily smaller in scale than those found in a mixed-use or commercial area.
In addition, the request would change the zoning designation from RO, which mixes office space with residential homes. RO converges existing blocks of dwellings to small offices, and functions as a transitional zone between existing residential and traditional commercial uses by preserving the residential scale, intensity of use and ultimate design of the project.
The new zoning designation would be consistent with the most common residential density zone within the city: residential single family. An R-1-8 zone allows for the establishment of single-family homes organized in low-density residential neighborhoods characteristic of traditional suburban residential developments.
One of the main motivators for Corbin’s request was the restrictions of setbacks within the current zoning. If the property owner were to build a new home, it would have to be extremely narrow due to the 25-feet and 30-feet setback requirements. “Although narrow home designs exist, the potential purchasers would rather build a home that could utilize standard setbacks,” reported Senior Planner Matt Taylor.
When presenting Corbin’s request to the planning commission, Taylor concluded with additional city planners that “the overall impact will slightly decrease the city’s capacity for additional office space within residential areas. Allowing the development of the property to maximize its ability for residential use will likely create the least impacts to the neighborhood and further the overall well-being of the city and the tax base.”
After one public comment in favor of the request, the planning commission approved recommending approval to the city council. On Aug. 5, the council was tasked to vote upon Ordinance 329 A or D, and Ordinance 330 A or D, which would either approve or deny the general plan land use amendment and zoning designation requested.
During public comment, one of the property’s neighbors, Bob Harper, asked if the property owner would consider pulling down the trees next to the property line. Otherwise, he and his wife were supportive of the change.
Corbin responded, “I intend to cut down the trees that will impact where I rebuild. Any trees that I can preserve and trim I will do that as well.”
Only one other resident spoke to the issue. “It’s a great use of that property,” said resident Lynn Kraus.
The council voted to approve both the rezone and general land use agreement unanimously.
To inquire about a land use or zoning designation on a property within the city, visit the city’s website at cottonwoodheights.utah.gov and click on the “City Services” tab. Then, visit the Community Development webpage, and click on the “zoning and setbacks” icon.