June 26 2007 City Council Minutes
ST. GEORGE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
JUNE 26, 2007, 11:00 A.M.
ADMINISTRATION CONFERENCE ROOM
Mayor Pro Tem Larry Gardner
Council Member Suzanne Allen
Council Member Gail Bunker
Council Member Suzanne Allen
Council Member Bob Whatcott
City Manager Gary Esplin
City Attorney Shawn Guzman
City Recorder Gay Cragun
Mayor Daniel McArthur
APPOINT MAYOR PRO TEM:
MOTION: A motion was made by Council Member Allen to appoint Council Member Larry Gardner as Mayor Pro Tem.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Orton.
VOTE: All voted aye. The motion carried.
Mayor Pro Tem Gardner called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance. The pledge of allegiance was led by Rod Orton and the invocation was offered by Gail Bunker.
DISCUSSION RE CLARIFICATION OF TND ORDINANCE AND ZONING IN LITTLE VALLEY:
Council Member Whatcott declared a conflict of interest.
City Manager Gary Esplin explained that agreement was needed on several issues: to set the framework for how to move forward with discussions, and why the City went through the General Plan amendment process for the Little Valley area. The reasons why the General Plan amendment process was pursued are because this area is a large undeveloped area, one of four remaining large developable areas, requests for development have been received that differ from the General Plan, and the Council has a desire to analyze what type of development it wants to allow, as well as determine wise use of the property. The Council decided it wanted a variety of lot options with a desire to create neighborhoods. It also felt the need to create areas for affordable housing while protecting and buffering existing uses and make them fit into the new development. There is a desire to connect developments and use washes and easements for trails and connectivity. There is a desire to use clustering to develop more open space. Livestock uses in this area are not as prominent as in the past, and Washington City has undergone a master plan change which allows density changes to impact this area. These are some of the reasons the City Council undertook the General Plan change. The City created a committee to do a draft plan and meetings were held with residents on what was to be accomplished. A plan was created, public hearings held, and the City Council adopted the General Plan change for 4000 acres. He stated that in his opinion, the overlay zone was created to allow for potential development higher than the base amount. His recollection is that the original master plan contained a basic overall density of two units per acre, and this now needs to be clarified. He stated in his mind it was never the intent to allow the entire 4000 acres to go to an R-1-10 zone without some other considerations for development and the developer bringing certain types of things to the table to allow that density. The intent was to allow R-1-10 to be included in the master plan in specific areas where it makes sense because of the locality of the request, or adjacent property use, or size of the property. This is the base decision that has to be made. There is no merit to discussing a TND or development agreement until the Council decides what the intent was in allowing development at a higher density in this area. Without this clarification, any zoning opportunity will be problematic. It may be that staff and the Council had stars in their eyes when it looked at TND concepts and perhaps they were asking for more than could actually occur in the present market, but it was a step in the right direction to allow that type of zoning.
Mayor Pro Tem Gardner commented that the original discussion was driven when Hal Sullivan came in with this zone change request and there was debate if the Council should allow the agricultural property to be immediately converted to residential, and how to buffer it. Then the City went to half acre lots and drew an arbitrary line and said it would make sense to have half acre lots there. Then RE12.5 zoning was allowed to provide for large animals, but the City later found out that because of CC&Rs, large animals were prohibited. The City must be sensitive to developers and what they can afford to develop.
Council Member Allen commented that the City gave some higher densities for affordable housing, but they went for the market rate, and nothing was given back such as open space. With clustering there will still be rooftops, but there will be open space. Half acre lots do not provide open space.
Council Member Bunker commented that the number of properties that actually have horses is small and most are used as storage sites. This is another emphasis for wanting to do something less than agricultural zones.
Council Member Orton commented that his recollection was that everyone agreed the area needed density higher than agricultural zoning. A TND overlay was done because the Council wanted to create neighborhoods with a different feel than an R-1-10 neighborhood, but only if they complimented the neighborhoods that are already there.
Council Member Allen commented that she recently had a conversation with someone complaining about traffic. She commented that it would be nice to shop within everyone?s own neighborhood without having to drive into town.
Council Member Whatcott agreed with City Manager Gary Esplin that perhaps the Council did feel the TND was going to be the cure-all and create walkable and community neighborhoods. However, in the City?s quest to define a TND, the requirements were so restrictive that it made a TND impossible to happen. The question is how to get the flexibility needed to accomplish the same goals. When the requirements are too regimented, the ability to be creative and flexible is lost.
Mayor Pro Tem Gardner commented that in his mind he thought the Council knew where it was heading with TNDs and this still have great validity. Joe Alfandre said the key to TNDs is what makes a great neighborhood, and this takes flexibility. The town center does not have to be commercial; it can be a ballfield or a church or a park, etc. If anyone comes forward with a zoning request in excess of two units per acre, the City can address this change in a development agreement based on the merits of the proposal.
City Manager Gary Esplin commented that once the base density is determined, the requirements for the development agreement need to be determined. Nothing will happen if the economics are not right and the zoning would then default into the underlying basic zone. There is a need for R-1-10 zoning that stands on its own, but there is also a need for connectivity, clustering, and development agreements. If the base density can be agreed upon, then the City can move forward and get a team together to come up with where the City needs to be using development agreements.
He clarified that there is no density limit under the current master plan if a true TND is done. The City will allow some R-1-10 zoning, but that is not the intent, and is not guaranteed. If more density than the baseline is wanted, TND guidelines will have to be followed or a development agreement entered into based on some standards. This is the problem - there are no standards that everyone agrees to. He suggested a committee be formed to recommend guidelines within the next few weeks. The deadline is July 19.
Council Member Orton commented that in his opinion it was not the Council?s intent when it created the TND overlay zone to have an R-1-10 overlay zone. The density is two units per acre, with a density bonus beyond that.
City Manager Gary Esplin reiterated that a base density needed to be set. The Council?s intent was that R-1-10 zoning be allowed as part of the overall development in the overlay zone, then a TND could be used to get a higher density.
Council Member Whatcott stated that the City Council never wanted two units per acre and that was not the intent. The intent was to set that as part of the design standards with increased density.
MOTION: A motion was made by Council Member Orton to clarify that Council?s intent was to set a base density of two units per acre in the Little Valley area with bonus densities according to specifications.
Council Member Whatcott commented that bonus densities have never been discussed.
AMENDED MOTION: A motion was made by Council Member Orton to clarify that the Council?s intent was to set a base density of two units per acre in the Little Valley area, with increased density according to specifications.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Allen.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Gardner called for a vote, and all voted aye.
City Manager Gary Esplin commented that staff needs to know how to address the issue of commercial development and the minimum size of a development. He stated there had to be a way to give incentives to developments of less than 40 acres that do not want to do a TND, such as clustering in exchange for increased open space and connectivity.
Council Member Whatcott commented that unless the City was willing to change the entire design standards of a TND, it would not be economically feasible to do a TND on less than 40 acres.
Council Member Bunker suggested that on these small projects, the developer be allowed to select three or five TND standards for their projects in order to qualify.
Council Member Orton commented that the main thing to consider is that it must be competitive for one and all. The City cannot set standards for a 50 acre piece that makes it more competitive than a 200 acre project. Whatever standards are set for large projects, the standards must be set proportionately for the small ones to make it fair for all.
City Manager Gary Esplin commented that perhaps everyone is hung up on a preconceived notion of what a TND is. He stated that in his mind never did the City say that a TND has to have all the garages in the rear and porches on the front. To him, a TND is a mixture of these features. He suggested the standards be set to allow commercial in master planned locations to serve the entire area. Criteria is needed to set one neighborhood apart from the next, yet tied to the overall area.
Mayor Pro Tem Gardner commented that the City has created its own challenges through the rigidity of its ordinances. He inquired how the TND could be tweaked to make it more developer-friendly and economy-friendly.
Ann Milne commented all she was hearing was how the developers could make more money. She inquired about water. She commented that non-agricultural neighbors would complain about the large animals and the resulting noise, flies and manure.
Mayor Pro Tem Gardner replied that the City Council has been sensitive to the agricultural uses and is trying to now. Water resources has been the City Council?s focus along with the needed infrastructure to serve the community.
Ann Milne commented that she has eight acres zoned A-1. She inquired how many homes she could build if the zoning were changed to R-1-10.
Mayor Pro Tem Gardner replied that she could build eight homes on her property right now. The City is not proposing to change the zoning in the area to R-1-10.
Natalie Drake inquired if there was a plan to leave any areas agricultural as all the lots east of 3000 East have been at least one acre or larger. She inquired if everything would be a TND or R-1-10 zoning.
Mayor Pro Tem Gardner replied that when the area came into the City, it was zoned either agricultural or R-1-10, and the City is not proposing to change that use.
Natalie Drake inquired if the City would allow a TND development next to her property.
Mayor Pro Tem Gardner replied that the City is trying to avoid that and is not encouraging anyone to break up the fields and develop.
Council Member Orton commented that the City is trying to protect equestrian uses with trails to outlying open area. It is tough to tell a property owner that he can?t develop his property to the highest and best use.
City Manager Gary Esplin commented that the City is simply saying that right now the underlying base density is two units per acre. If someone wants increased density, they have to submit a plan to the City and show how they will deal with buffering of property, etc. There is no guarantee that the development will be approved if it is not compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. However, there will always be a conflict with those who have horses and those who don?t.
Mayor Pro Tem Gardner commented that the idea of a TND is to allow the option of clustering to encourage openness and an agricultural feel.
Donald Rawlings commented that he owns property on 3000 East and the City should look at what is on the other side of the road. Traffic will also change the area. He stated that 3000 East was already too busy to ride horses along, and that no one would use the trail if it was built.
Bob Willard commented that at least once a month someone stops at his home and asks if there are any one acre lots for sale, but there are none in the area. He stated that he was in favor of leaving the zoning as it was and having developers develop large lots.
Dave Young advised that the new water system will help, and the City should not be afraid of larger lots. The entire system will be pressurized.
Libby Venuti commented that Ence Homes, her employer, is doing a project on 3650 South in the Washington Fields, and larger lots mean increased developer costs, especially the water impact fee charged by the Washington County Water Conservancy District. Larger lots won?t make St. George a better place to live.
Mayor Pro Tem Gardner replied that larger lots with agricultural water do not have to pay the same impact fee.
Jeanette Rawlings inquired if there were any areas designated for commercial.
Council Member Whatcott showed Mrs. Rawlings a map designating the commercial areas.
Ed Burgess commented that a landowner is going to do what makes the most financial sense. He stated he went through the process of trying to understand TND design and zoning, and even went so far as to make application for one, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. But because of conflicts in the way the General Plan was approved, he finally realized a TND put developers on an uneven playing field. He stated he had the opportunity of putting in a project outside of the TND overlay zone and could see what the costs were in the Little Valley area. He stated he wanted to see the area develop in the best way it can, but the natural thing for the landowner to do is to request R-1-10 zoning because trying to meet the standards of a TND is tough. There is a need for R-1-10 and more density as one acre lots are very expensive to do. It seems like a TND is not exactly what the City is looking for, but rather the development plan of each piece of property being developed with a simple defined set of rules. To put everyone close to a level playing field, amenities for the entire area have to be developed with contributions toward the amenities. These guidelines can probably be established by picking a couple of points to keep everyone on a level playing field. From the City?s perspective, they can get everything they want - to protect existing horse owners with a potential for riding facilities, trails, etc. Someone willing to leave their land agricultural would be compensated somehow for doing that. It would make no sense to do a TND that was competing with a 1500 acre R-1-10 project. A task force is a great idea. He stated that he was willing to set aside property for commercial development as there is a need for it. The best thing to do is neighborhood commercial, and he is willing to sit on the property until there are enough rooftops to support it. He stated that the free enterprise system works. He stated he understood the agricultural lifestyle and wants to preserve it to the point he can.
Dave Young commented his concern is the R-1-10 zoning. If property is zoned R-1-10 and three houses are built now on it, the applicant will come back tomorrow and develop it all because his horse died.
Lowry Snow suggested the committee?s work in examining the TND would probably be broad. He reminded the City Council that there are pending applications, and he recommended the committee be charged with defining criteria to address the pending applications due to the short time frame of July 19.
A brief discussion took place on recommendations for committee members.
City Manager Gary Esplin suggested any decision be deferred until Thursday as the Mayor has some recommendations.
ADJOURN TO EXECUTIVE SESSION:
MOTION: A motion was made by Mayor Pro Tem Gardner to adjourn to an executive session to discuss reasonably imminent litigation.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Whatcott.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Gardner called for a roll call vote, as follows:
Mayor Pro Tem Gardner - aye
Council Member Whatcott - aye
Council Member Bunker - aye
Council Member Orton - aye
Council Member Allen - aye
The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.
RECONVENE AND ADJOURN:
MOTION: A motion to reconvene and adjourn was made by Mayor Pro Tem Gardner.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Allen.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Gardner called for a vote, and all voted aye. The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
Gay Cragun, City Recorder