The Lehi City Planning Commission met in a marathon meeting on Thursday, October 24, to consider 16 agenda items. The meeting was almost five hours long, with many Lehi citizens voicing concerns about proposed zone changes. Commission Chair Matt Hemmert was excused to participate in the City Council candidate debate which was held the same night.

Scott Warner returned to the Planning Commission to request approval for a zone change to Neighborhood Commercial on 1.24 acres at 2900 North 1200 West. Once again, residents surrounding the property voiced opposition to the zone change and Warner’s concept plan for Aspire Creative Arts, a dance studio. “I promise this will be a nice, well designed building. We’ve got a much smaller plan this time, after taking a bloody beating last time,” Warner reminded the commission, referring to the last plan Warner submitted that included more land and more buildings.

Half a dozen residents near the Warner property commented during the public hearing on the item. “The Neighborhood Commercial zone would be plopped into “Residential,” it’s totally surrounded by Residential. The building they want is 65% bigger than what is allowed and 400% bigger than any building in a Neighborhood Commercial zone in Lehi,” said Curtis Barlow.

“He’s asking for a zone to be changed and before the zone change has been approved, he’s asking for exceptions to the zone requirements–huge exceptions,” added Jan Robinette. “This neighborhood has fought hard every time this comes up. This building belongs with all the other big white buildings, not in our neighborhood,” Robinette continued.

“The developer has pulled out; we’re just purchasing this parcel for a dance studio. We’ve made so many adjustments and met people in their homes to try to work with them. They can’t get happy. It’s hard for me to hear the negative connotation with dance students and that people don’t feel this is a benefit to the neighborhood. We function between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. from Monday to Thursday. We’re on a five-lane boulevard, not a country road. We’re not trying to trick anyone, we just want a dance studio,” said an emotional Kathy Rowley, the applicant petitioning with Scott Warner.

Lehi City staff explained that Warner’s concept for a two-story building, 8,000-square foot building had a small enough footprint to be in a Neighborhood Commercial zone.

“The City Council voted for Neighborhood Commercial in this area and a dance studio fits in that zone,” said Abe Nielsen, acting Planning Commission Chair. Planning Commission members were reminded that they needed a specific reason not to recommend the zone change. A motion was made for a positive recommendation on Scott Warner’s request for a zone change to Neighborhood Commercial on his property at 2900 North 1200 West. The motion passed unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was Warner’s concept plan for the dance studio. Even more residents stood to object to the concept plan for Scott Warner’s Aspire Creative Group, on the 1.24 acres that will be zoned Neighborhood Commercial pending City Council approval.

“We don’t feel heard. You’re bored, I can see it. This is our neighborhood. We’re here and we’re concerned. People have died on this road,” said Jan Robinette. Other neighbors continued to object to the size of the building and the increase in traffic they felt would accompany it.

“We’re vilifying this building for its size and it’s really not that big. Most of the homes in the area are two-story homes,” said Warner.

“I’ve done some quick calculating. The townhomes across the street are 113 feet long and two stories. This dance studio is just over 90 feet long. It’s similar in height and size to the homes around it,” said Abe Nielsen. “Does it meet the needs and requirements? Reading the code, it’s not so much about size as it is about intent,” said Commission Member Bill Hereth. “This will have a 30-foot setback and a landscape buffer. If it was residential, they could be right up to the street,” Nielsen responded.

A motion was made to approve the Aspire Creative Arts Group concept plan, a recommendation that would be final, not subject to City Council approval. The approval was denied by a vote of 3 to 4. Warner will need to make “substantial” changes to his concept plan or wait one year to present the same plan to the Planning Commission for approval.

Bryce Fairbourn’s request for review of a zone change on 4.19 acres at 827 West 900 North from A-1 (agriculture) to R-1-Flex (residential) as well as his concept for Pheasant Run, a 13-lot residential development on the property brought neighboring farmers to the Planning Commission meeting.

“I’m for private landowner’s rights. I’m here for my property rights. No one will be more impacted by this development than me,” said Martin Matthews, a farmer and immediate neighbor to the proposed development. Matthews pointed out that there is no buffer between his farm and the homes, that his farm’s elevation is lower than the homes surrounding it which could cause flooding with more homes. Matthews’ main concern, however, was water.

“Ever since the first phase of Hadfield Estates went in, I’ve had no water on my pressurized irrigation connection. On Sunday morning it’d take two minutes to fill a five-gallon bucket. I have a field of dirt because I can’t water it. I pay my bill for no water. It’s not fair to me to not have water because somebody added a subdivision. If the city can’t supply the water, don’t do the subdivision,” Matthews continued.

“Keeping the ditch cleared every Spring has been a real problem. If we pipe it, that will help,” said Larry Hadfield, a farmer with 20 acres on 900 North.

A member of Lehi City staff briefed the Planning Commission on new water sources that are coming online in April 2020, including a newly finished basin in West Lehi, a pressurized pumping irrigation system in the Jordan Willows area, and two large lines coming from Sandpit Reservoir. “The loss of our agricultural heritage is a shame,” said Brent Everett, a Planning Commission Member. 

A motion was made for a positive recommendation for a zone change from agriculture to residential and the motion passed with one negative vote from Brent Everett. Tyson Eyre made a motion for a positive recommendation for the 13-lot Pheasant Run residential development concept with the requirement for a masonry fence and for the city to verify secondary irrigation and water pressure. The motion, with requirements, passed unanimously.

Breezy Anson presented a request to the Planning Commission to change the zoning on 1.63 acres of property at 2300 West 871 North from A-1 (agriculture) to NC (Neighborhood Commercial). Anson did not have a concept plan for the land but asked for the zone change to give the property owners options for future use. 

Several neighbors opposed the zone change during the public hearing. “Who is this really serving? It’s not the neighbors,” said Travis Dickson, a resident near the property.

Lehi City staff explained that the master plan has the property staying low-density residential with an option (or overlay) for neighborhood commercial. “There’s no real reason to change this zone, there’s no concept on the table,” said Roger Ellis, Planning Commission Member.

“I get the planning component of this looking into the future, but I agree this is a weird place to plop in Neighborhood Commercial. It’s an odd fit at this time,” added Abe Nielsen.

Planning Commission Member Scott Bunker made a motion for a negative recommendation for Breezy Anson’s request for a zone change from agriculture to Neighborhood Commercial. The motion passed with Greg Jackson and Tyson Eyre voting “no.” 

Alpine School District requested a review for a zone change of a 1.72-acre, five-lot residential development at 1100 West 1450 South from R-1-22 (residential/agriculture) to RA-1 (residential/agriculture). The lots will be used by ASD in their Career and Technical Education program that allows high school students to design and build real homes. One resident expressed concerns about added traffic in the already populated area. The motion to recommend the zone change as well as the residential development passed unanimously.

The Planning Commission also motioned to recommend approval for the following items at their October 24 meeting:

– Boyd Brown’s request for a General Plan amendment on 20.75 acres of property at 4300 West 1800 North, changing the land use designation to Light Industrial and Commercial.

– Boyd Browns request for approval of The Hub Concept, a 14-acre commercial/light industrial development at 4300 West 1800 North. (The concept is a storage facility.)

– Perry Homes request for an extension for the VUE site plan, a 308-unit high density residential development at Mountain View Road and SR-92.

– Logan Johnson’s request for approval of the 7-Eleven site plan in the northeast corner of 2100 North and 2300 West in a Commercial zone.

– Mitch McCuistion’s request for a review of a General Plan amendment from VLDRA (very low-density residential agriculture) to VLDR (very low density residential) for 4.9-acres of property at 1900 South Bridle Path Loop.

– Mitch McCuistion’s request for review of Sunset Farms Phase 2 concept, a 9-lot residential development at 1900 South Bridle Path Loop.

– Impact Signs request for conditional use approval of a monument sign with an EMD for Holiday Oil at 2100 North Ashton Blvd.

– Schafer Magana’s request for approval of a conditional use permit for the SKG Management Impound Yard located in an existing building at 4651 North Digital Drive.

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