SUU zoning issues still being considered by Cedar Council

By Kelsey Keener

Iron County Today

CEDAR CITY–Two items regarding the proposed SUU Housing District Zone were discussed again during the Jan. 24 City Council meeting.

The first item is a resolution that amends the General Land Use Plan; the second is an ordinance creating the SUU Housing District Zone. Before the council voted on these two items, City Attorney Tyler Romeril offered clarification on the differences between the GLUP and zoning.

Romeril said the GLUP is a tool for the city to use to help plan for the future.

“This general land use amendment is a tool that the city uses to forecast how we propose the city develop in the future,” he said. “There’s nothing binding about this. It doesn’t determine how a person uses their land; it’s merely a vision of what the city uses to progress in the future.”

He added that the amendment in question would not change any current property rights.

“It is merely just a projection of how we see student-housing growing in the future,” Romeril said.

Romeril also said zoning is another tool for the city, but if the SHD zone passed it would only apply to the property owners who wish to use it and should a property owner wish to use it, notifications of everyone within 300 feet of the property would be sent with information about public hearings.

“If this were to pass tonight, that zone would only be on paper,” he said. “If a property owner came to the city and wanted to use this zoning tool, they could only use it where the general plan forecasts that they can use it.”

Romeril also clarified the differences between the current R-3-M zone and the proposed SHD Zone. The permitted uses are the same for both zones. For the SHD zone there would be no minimum lot area or lot width requirements, side and rear setbacks would be governed by building and fire codes and the front setback minimum would be 15 feet. In the current zone, the side setback minimum is six feet, the front 25 feet and the rear 20 feet. Currently the maximum height allowed is 35 feet; that would be increased to 50 feet in the SHD zone. The maximum building size would still be determined by building and fire codes, and the parking requirement would be 0.7 spaces per occupant for the SHD zone, rather than the current requirement of 0.85 spaces.

The proposed area for the GLUP amendment and SHD zone was reduced to exclude any R-1 or R-2 zones.

Councilman Scott Phillips began the discussion by asking if there is truly a need for a special district or zone. Councilman Craig Isom offered his view on the necessity for accommodating growth.

“I think what this does is allow us to get out in front of that growth and provide an environment that help fill a need for that housing and will accommodate that growth rather than to have to just react to it,” Isom said. “It would be better for forward thinking, for the direction of the community to have a planned area (to) keep the parking in the housing developments rather than somewhere else. That improves parking prospects around the university pretty significantly. I think that if we have well-designed apartments with all the fire safety that’s being proposed, that’s a safer thing for our students and for the community.”

Councilman Phillips asked if reducing the parking requirement would actually help the current parking problem, and Councilmen Isom and Paul Cozzens agreed that based on current parking requirements there is actually a slight increase in the number of parking spaces needed.

The amendment to the GLUP was approved, with the revision excluding current R-1 and R-2 zones.

The council discussed the proposed SHD zone at length. Councilmen Phillips and Ron Adams stated they were not in agreement with the 0.7 parking spaces per occupant requirement. Councilwoman Terri Hartley said she was uncomfortable with how the proposal was written and has requested an enforcement piece be added to the parking requirement.

“If that .7 is really the number that we’re going to come in at I was pretty adamant about that we have an enforcement piece built into that,” she said. “I’m not in favor of approving it without that extra piece.”

Romeril is currently working on a revision to rental business licenses that is citywide and will be presented at the next City Council Meeting.

Councilman Isom added that the parking requirement should be something that is consistently revisited.

“If we set at .7, I think that it has to become something that we regularly review,” he said. “This is something that has to be monitored and managed as we go forward. Even if we went with the ordinance as outlined, I want to build into it some ability to revisit this.”

Councilman Adams stated he would be more comfortable with the current parking requirement and that an enforcement clause would give the city a tool to manage parking. He also invited residents to pick a representative for smaller meetings.

“We’d encourage you to get a representative from an area or neighborhood that’s affected so we could meet on a smaller scale with developers, representatives, a representative from the university, a representative of staff,” he said. “I think we have to get down to the facts and get all those together and then try and come up with the best decision we can.”

The vote for the SHD zone has been tabled until Feb. 7.

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