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Lehi commercial development request creates heated planning discussion

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The Lehi City Planning Commission held its regular meeting on Thursday, April 23, on a video conference call. Commissioners, City staff, and applicants attended the meeting virtually and public comments emailed to the City before the meeting were acknowledged and added to the record.

Kent England, representing Innovation Pointe Phase 3, came before the Planning Commission to request final approval of the concept plan for a 145,000 square foot, five-story office building on approximately eight acres at 1441 W. Innovation Way between Triumph Blvd and 1200 West. The plan included a 379-stall parking structure in addition to surface parking lots. England joined the video meeting to explain why so many parking stalls were needed. He had a difficult time communicating because his video feed was interrupted multiple times and he experienced microphone feedback as he made his explanation.

Commissioner Abram Nielsen requested to abstain from voting on the Innovation Pointe Phase 3 concept plan. “I object to the way this whole project and process has gone and the fact that we don’t stick to our guns as a city to stand up for our vision and goals. We’ve allowed developers to create loopholes to make an even worse project than was previously submitted,” said Nielsen. 

“We’ve worked with Lehi City, UDOT, and Provo River Waterways Association to enhance the landscaping across the road and create an environment that everyone can be proud of. There are areas for gathering, bike path connections, additional parking. This is still conceptual, but we’re committed to making this a great project,” said England.

“Let’s express our opinions so they can make changes. I’m not trying to put Commissioner Nielsen on the spot, but I’d like to hear his objections,” said Commissioner Steve Bunker.

“I’ve expressed this from the beginning, they’ve asked for a zone change so they can do what they have wanted to do from the beginning. There isn’t a stitch of walkability in the whole thing. They mentioned parks and trails, but those exist without this project, they’re not really adding anything. I get that there are issues with this site, but if it doesn’t work, build something else. If you can’t meet the code and goals of the city, you need to build something else,” said Commissioner Nielsen. “I appreciate the effort and these buildings are some of the best-looking office buildings in Lehi,” Nielsen added.

England pointed out that 20 percent of the plan was landscaping, which is twice as much as is required in a commercial zone. “I know it’s not perfect, but this is as good as we can do and still have the parking we need,” England said. 

A motion was made to give final approval to Innovation Pointe Phase 3 and the motion passed with two negative votes from Commissioner Bill Hereth and Commissioner Brent Everett, as well as Commissioner Abram Nielsen abstaining.

Edge Homes had two items on the agenda, one for a 420-lot residential development of townhomes and another for a 200-lot residential condo development, both on West Hardman Way. The townhomes were on 33.31 acres in a Heavy Commercial zone, in an area along 2100 North that allows for both high density residential and commercial uses. The concept plan also included a clubhouse, open space, and several sport courts. There were several public comments emailed to Lehi City on the Edge Home concept, but all of them were concerns about parking. The applicants said they anticipate most residents would be able to walk to the clubhouse and that Edge had provided adequate guest parking stalls. Commissioner Brent Everett asked Lehi City Engineer Ross Dinsdale if garbage trucks would be able to get in and out of the narrow streets in the development. “We always do virtual tests to make sure a fire truck can get in and turn around before construction even begins,” Dinsdale said.

Both the Edge Homes’ developments received a unanimous positive recommendation from the Planning Commission and will move on to City Council for final approval.

The other items on the agenda for April 23 that were also given unanimous positive recommendations from the Planning Commission include:

• Rick Allen’s flag lot at 2080 North 1200 East.

• Reynolds Daycare concept for a commercial daycare development at 2975 West Executive Parkway.

• Boyer and Gardner Companies’ request for review of the Lehi Block zone change from Industrial to Commercial zone on 20 acres at 2303 North 1200 West.

• Aki Miyagi’s request for a zone change from commercial to heavy commercial on three acres of property at approximately 333 Millpond Drive.

• Fieldstone Homes request for a Development Code amendment changing the residential building material requirements in Planned Communities.

• Lehi City’s request for a review of a Development Code amendment to the Connectivity Standards in Chapter 37.

Commissioners moved Lehi City’s request for review of a Development Code amendment to Chapter 20, adding a home office with mobile services as an allowed use to the next Planning Commission meeting to give City staff a chance to change the wording of the request.

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