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Townhome Development Approved Despite Public Opposition

Aug 01, 2016 08:26AM ● Published by Kelly Cannon

City council approved plans for a townhouse development despite the public being opposed. —Draper City

By Kelly Cannon | kelly@mycityjournals.com


Draper, Utah - Despite residents being opposed to the plan, the Draper City Council approved the preliminary plat for a 48-unit townhome development located at 145 E. Steep Mountain Dr. The council reached its decision on July 5 after tabling the vote during the June 21 meeting due to a lack of a motion to approve or disapprove.

 Community Development Director Keith Morey explained to the council the area had been approved for development years.

 “The big concern that we had were the geologic issues that are associated with hillside development,” Morey said. “One of the big delays that has taken this development so long to get to this point in the approval process has been trying to satisfy the city’s third-party geologist. Those issues are all resolved.”

 Morey said the plan had met all of the requirements for the city ordinances as far as zoning, subdivision and geologic issues are concerned.

 Councilmember Jeff Stenquist addressed the rest of the council and explained the city has a set of ordinances that define what need to be done in regards to analyzing and mitigating issues; all of those ordinances have been satisfied.

 Morey went on to say that in many ways, the Draper City geologic hazard ordinances are the model the state geologic service recognize as the standard for what cities ought to adopt.

 “You have to understand that developers who build in these areas have a very rigorous process and they’ve satisfied that ordinance because its sole purpose is to make sure that if anything does get built, it’s built in a way that is safe,” Morey said. “Their stamp of approval signifies that they feel the engineers have met those standards and what they’re proposing will be built in a safe way.”

 Morey went on to say development may even stabilize that area. Councilmember William Rappleye also pointed out the area was originally approved for 99 units instead of the 48 units it now has.

 Councilmember Michele Weeks said she had been very concerned about the development during the June 21 meeting.

 “I talked to our legal department because I wanted to know what was our legal status because it was already approved for 99 homes. The fact they only want to do 48 homes instead of the 99 that they legally have a right to do, that was something I was considering,” Weeks said. “After looking at it legally and what we can and cannot say, I felt fairly comfortable with what’s going on.”

 Weeks then made the motion to approve the plat with a second from Councilmember Alan Summerhays.

 Weeks thanked the public for coming out in the previous meeting for voicing their concerns about the project.

 Councilmember Marsha Vawdrey also commented, saying the developers had done their due diligence and have met the ordinance and that was all they were legally required to do.

 Councilmember Jeff Stenquist said Vawdrey had a good point.

 “Our role in protecting the public is to set the standards they need to follow, and if they meet all of those requirements, they have legally standing to get the approval,” Stenquist said.

 The vote was unanimous.

During the June 21 meeting, several members of the public came out to voice opposition against the development. Most of the comments were made about concern that the hill cannot sustain more development. Many claimed they could feel movement inside their homes whenever Geneva blasted for rock on the other side of the mountain.  

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