Final meeting of 2018 includes hundreds of new dwellings
In the final Planning Commission meeting for 2018, members considered concepts for three high-density housing projects along with 14 smaller agenda items.
The Lehi Tech Apartment site plan, located at 210 South Interstate Plaza in a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) zone, was presented to the Planning Commission after months of traffic studies and adjustments based on Lehi City staff suggestions. This development is located just north of I-15 near Metal Mart and Chuck A Rama. Members of the Planning Commission expressed concerns about how traffic will be affected on Main Street intersections with the high-density apartment building. The applicant came prepared with the results of several traffic studies, with more research planned in the future. The architectural firm, represented by Mark Anthon, amended their first concept plan to include a plaza with parking for food trucks and outdoor seating, as well as a playground.
Anthon also provided an example of the faux brick product with built-in insulation they hope to use on the exterior of the building. “I’m concerned about longevity. For a project this size are we wanting to go out on a limb with something that’s uncertain when we know brick is going to look good? That’s a big risk,” said Heather Seegmiller, Planning Commission Member. Representatives of Jarrett Construction explained that the product has a life of 30 to 40 years and a 10-year warranty. They’ve used it on other buildings and it’s easier to repair than traditional brick. The explanation satisfied the Planning Commission members on that topic.
A much-debated point of the Lehi Tech Apartments was the placement of utility boxes. Jarrett Construction had worked extensively with Lehi Power, but members of the Planning Commission weren’t happy to see utility boxes in the middle of the sidewalk in front of the proposed apartment building. “I work for a power company. Forty years ago, all the utility boxes were put in the back, along easement lines. It took about 20 years, but we learned that’s the worst place to put them. Decks and sheds and even waterfalls were built over them. People expect their power back on quickly and hiding the boxes makes it hard to do repairs,” said Planning Commission Member Scott Bunker. It was stipulated in the motion that the utility boxes in the middle of the sidewalk will need to be moved off the sidewalk before final approval.
Lehi City staff mentioned that they would be seeking reduced fare on UTA buses from the Lehi Tech Apartments to the Frontrunner station at Thanksgiving Point. “The whole point of a TOD zone is to not only build something that’s going to be conveniently located to potential future public transit, but we have to build this out in a way that will attract the transit. We have to prove there’s a demand to UTA before they’ll service it in the way we hope they will,” commented Matt Hemmert, member of the Planning Commission.
The Planning Commission unanimously approved; the Vivian Estates Phase Two preliminary subdivision, a 34-lot residential development at 2600 North 600 West, the Beany’s concept for a coffee hut at 310 North 850 East, the Traverse Mountain Office Park III Phase One site plan at 1500 West Traverse Parkway, the Truck Ranch site plan at 980 West State Street, Pinnacle Chiropractic at 289 East Main Street zone change to Mixed Use, and the Cold Spring Ranch Clubhouse site plan. They also approved of the preliminary subdivision review of Holbrook Farms Plat F, an 81-lot residential development at 4300 West Waterbury Drive, as well as the Maverick site plan at 2050 North 3600 West.
The Planning Commission had many questions for the Edge Homes Exchange II, a 340-unit residential development at 1500 North 3600 West. After lengthy explanations and going over the concept drawings, the commission approved the subdivision. “I think it’s a shame that, as a city, we allow developers to try and pack so much into every single thing that we do away with simple niceties like sidewalks and planter strips and on-street parking. I’m all for density – I love density, but we can go higher. We can have more walkability for the pedestrian experience,” said Planning Commission Member Abram Nielsen, while other members of the commission nodded their agreement.
The last two agenda items in the almost four-hour meeting were updates for the design standards for Lehi City. The new standards for developments require sidewalks on both sides of the street, wider sidewalks and planter strips. The Commission has often been making exceptions to these standards. The item drew applause from the members of the Planning Commission and unanimous approval.