City Council approves Gravel Pit developmentAug 23, 2021 11:24AM ● By Cassie Goff
After years of big-picture discussions and arguments over small details, the gravel pit development plan has finally been approved by the Cottonwood Heights City Council. (Cassie Goff/City Journals)
By Cassie Goff | [email protected]
The development planned on the northern end of the Gravel Pit (6695 S. Wasatch Blvd.) is one step closer to beginning construction. The Cottonwood Heights City Council voted to approve and enact PDD-2 (Wasatch Rock Redevelopment) on Aug. 3. Now, each of the seven phases within the project will need to address the remaining Sensitive Lands (Evaluation & Development Standards (SLEDS)) concerns, receive site plan approval by the Architectural Review Commission (ARC), and gain a city building permit.
Before the vote, Community and Economic Development Director Michael Johnson informed the city council one of their main concerns had been deferred for a future date. Multiple councilmembers had voiced repeated worry over the height of a condominium building (previously proposed at 13 stories).
“I have been a thorn in the side when it comes to height,” said Mayor Mike Peterson.
The approved development plan includes the location and use of the condominium building only. Unit count, building height, massing, size, and density will all have to be deliberated and finalized by future planning commission and city council members. In other words, the developers will have to work through the PDD (Planned Development District) process again for the condominium building alone. When completed, it will be an amendment to the current PDD-2.
“This will be a council discussion to tie up final height,” Johnson said. The condominium building will require future deliberation from the Planning Commission and City Council to establish final massing and density.
In addition, language addressing concerns over SLEDS was incorporated into the final development plan. “All sensitive land studies will need to be submitted, reviewed, and approved by the DRC (Development Review Committee) before any vertical construction can take place for this development.”
The DRC is comprised of city engineers, city planning staff members, city building department members, fire department representatives and geologic consultants. These individuals carry out the sensitive lands ordinance, checking for extremely specific criteria.
“Before (the developers) can do any work, (DRC members) all sit down and say ‘OK, you have to do this work, here’s how you need to do it, here’s what we want to see’ and then they have to submit that report to us,” Johnson said.
He further clarified the DRC process is strictly defined within city ordinance. The DRC members work to make sure the procedures and regulations are followed, especially as it pertains to sensitive lands.
City Manager Tim Tingey clarified that every member of the DRC has to sign off on any given plans and development details. “If every individual does not sign off, it’s not approved—it doesn’t move forward.”
With that final clarification, Councilmember Scott Bracken motioned to approve the Gravel Pit Development Plan. “There was a lot of time and effort spent on this and it is a better application,” he said.
Councilmember Christine Mikell agreed. “I think we as a community need to be part of the solution and not the problem. I don’t love the look of it but I don’t have to love it. I appreciate that we can be part of the solution.”
Councilmember Doug Peterson seconded the motion. “I think we have mitigated a lot of problems to make this a better project. I feel much better about this.”
Mayor Peterson offered his comment before calling for the vote. “I’m quite pleased with the project. I really appreciate the effort for reclamation of the hillside, the plazas, walkability, and the connection to Bonneville Shoreline. We are setting precedent for what we will see in the rest of that development.”
Ordinance 363-A: Approving enactment of the PDD-2 (Wasatch Rock Redevelopment) Zone; Approving the rezone of 21.56 acres of real property located at 6695 S. Wasatch Blvd. from F-1-21 (Foothill Residential) to PDD-2 (Wasatch Rock Redevelopment); and Amending the Zoning Map was approved unanimously by the city council on Aug 3. Councilmember Tali Bruce was absent and therefore excused from the vote.
Now, the focus is SLEDS. “No vertical construction may take place for any phase until all sensitive lands have been approved,” Johnson reiterated.
When all sensitive lands issues have been addressed, phase one of seven can begin. Residents may see construction focusing on hillside reclamation and the proposed apartment building first.
“The apartment building, including parking, will be seven stories (75 feet tall). The Corporate Center (2795 E. Cottonwood Parkway) are 85 feet tall,” Johnson said.