July 25, 2019
To All Concerned About the Proposed Lofts at Deer Run Development,
Thank you for making your voice heard. I love that we live in a land where we can come together in governance and hear everyone’s voice on what this community can and should become. Thank you for taking the time to attend meetings and provide such thoughtful comments. This is exactly how the process is designed to work; it is working.
We hear your concerns – the Mayor, the City Council, the Planning Commission, and City staff. We understand your concerns about the proposed development affecting the safety, beauty, and quiet nature of South Weber City. We share your concerns. We know and love the same aspects of South Weber that you do. We are doing all in our power to maintain the character of South Weber City as it grows and changes. You may feel that last sentence rings hollow. I hope you’ll hear me out.
We are between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, a large group of citizens is against any high-density development on the property; on the other hand, we are unable to deny a property-owner’s desired development simply because we do not like it. We are only able to ensure that the City codes are followed.
The developer has not yet submitted preliminary plat and improvement plans, which would go before City staff, then the Planning Commission. After preliminary plat, a final plat would go to those groups and then to City Council. Once plans are submitted, we will be able to discuss the proposal details and compare them to the City’s code. We are all waiting until the developer officially submits those plans.
You may be wondering how we got into this situation or why we are unable to discuss what is allowed on the property in general. Simply put, because that discussion happened already; in August 2017 to be exact. The property owner applied to rezone the property from the commercial zone to the commercial-overlay zone, stating in the application that the proposed use is “Day Care and Multiple Use including commercial and residential.” Their proposal conformed with the General Plan and was ultimately approved after a public hearing.
The City’s General Plan, most recently updated in 2014, shows the property’s underlying zone as commercial, with mixed use allowed. The feeling expressed is that the single-family residential neighborhoods require a buffer or transition from the main commercial corridor along South Weber Drive and the frontage road. A mix of residential and commercial, or mid- to high-density residential, provides such a transition. Looking back to connect the dots, I see how one aspect of the General Plan was to provide a buffer, and ultimately directed the decision to approve the rezone.
We are unable to revisit that decision because the developer is now vested in the commercial-overlay zone as it was on the books when they began the development process and paid their first fees. We are now in a position where certain density must be allowed on the property and we can only work within the City codes to make the best of the situation. We are committed to doing so.
So what can be done for this development and for future developments? Residents can continue to be involved in the development process of this property by attending meetings and voicing their thoughts. No action will be taken on this property until an official preliminary plan has been submitted. Please watch for when that comes before Planning Commission. Staff, Planning Commission, and City Council will all make sure
that every City code is followed and that this development becomes the best it can be considering our situation.
You can also be involved in the current General Plan update that will go before the public this Fall. This is the time to help establish the general vision for the community and discuss where multi-family housing and commercial development should be allowed in South Weber City.
We all love South Weber and are committed to its bright future. Our various roles are all important in the planning and development process and I thank you for doing your part to make South Weber the wonderful place it is and will continue to be!
City Manager, South Weber City