At the Planning Commission in and for said City January 3, 2024,

Minutes of the Richfield City Planning Commission meeting held on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, at 6:00 p.m., Chairman Josh Peterson, presiding.

  1. Roll Call.
    Present: Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Lisa White, Zack Leavitt, Wayne Cowley.
    Excused: Susan Jensen, Wes Kirshner.
    Also present, Brandy Shaver, Sydnee Dallam, Ryan Baker, Tyson Curtis, City Manager Michele Jolley, City Police Chief Trent Lloyd, City Deputy Recorder David Anderson
  2. General Plan Amendment – Discuss possibility of removing future expanded RM-24 zones from the general plan zoning map.
    The issue of RM-24 zones has been discussed by the city council extensively. The zone has not fulfilled the needs the city was told it would, Chairman Peterson said. He said two years ago the zone was created to give young, local families affordable places to live, which haven’t materialized. If all the currently approved zones and projects are built, there would be 650 units available, which is a lot for a community the size of Richfield.
    The council has asked the planning commission to look at eliminating future RM-24 zones from the general plan.
    City Manager Michele Jolley and City Police Chief Trent Lloyd discussed the issues associated with the current supply of RM-24 developments and the possibility of removing future expansions of RM-24 zoning.
    The proposal is to amend the future zoning map and take all of the RM-24 off of it, according to Jolley. The planning commission would still have the opportunity to approve RM-24, but it would have to go through the process of amending the general plan, and applying for a zoning change – similar to what is being pursued by the Trailhead development. The issue at hand is that any RM-24 on the general plan map now would have to be allowed.
    Jolley said the problem the city is having now is that it cannot provide the services for the units that have come in to the city. Every one of them has operated on a tax credit basis, meaning there are minimum income requirements would have to be met. When the Sandstone Apartments opened, the city was told that a couple making $54,000 a year would qualify, but that’s not what’s happening. One couple Deputy Clerk Anderson was told about included a young woman who worked at a hotel and a husband who worked detailing cars, and were not able to qualify. The income threshold to qualify for these units is too low.
    The city has been seeing an impact on services. Sandstone, which partially opened April 1, and hasn’t fully opened until recently, has resulted in 53 calls from April 1 to Jan. 1. The Apple Tree Inn, a hotel that has been operating as long-term housing without a license, has resulted in 180 calls in a year. Eagle View, an RM-11 development for lower income families, has resulted in 154 calls in the past year.
    Calls include police, ambulance and other types of emergency service calls.
    Chief Lloyd said the higher density housing developments are tying up officers. Jolley said the city doesn’t have the man power, with 5,700 emergency calls in Richfield City in the past year. Chief Lloyd said the city surpassed the Sevier County in number of calls three years ago. The county had 4,480 calls last year. Lloyd said the call volume is being place on Richfield, and not from county residents moving into Richfield, but from other areas. Lloyd said, “We’re not meeting the need of our local kids, we’re meeting needs of Vegas and Salt Lake.”
    City Manager Jolley said the proposal is to preserve the high density and medium density already in place in the general plan. The city has to leave what it already has, but not what is shown in future planning documents. Another concern would be if a developer bought two or three blocks, knocked everything down and then created more high density, tax credit-based housing in an established neighborhood.
    Commissioner White said there is a limit to the number of units created, so there is some protection in that.
    Jolley pointed out that the Eagle View project was completed as RM-11. The RM-24 zone is just increasing the density.
    White said the benefit to RM-24 is more people in a smaller area, which would prevent the spread into farm fields.
    Jolley said the goal is to give the city back some control in future high-density developments, where the current planning map takes away the city’s ability to do so. By removing it from the planning map, each development could be taken on a case-by-case basis.
    If a proposal doesn’t make sense and doesn’t appear to be something the city could support, it could be denied on the basis that it doesn’t meet the general planning map as its not what is considered the best and highest use for the property.
    Commissioner Breinholt asked if there were a way to control the income-based types of developments.
    Unfortunately, there isn’t a mechanism for doing so, Jolley said. She said the Sandstone apartments were represented the entire time they moved through the approval process as a facility to house employees of a planned meat packing operation. However, it now appears the meat packing operation is not going to be constructed, and the apartments have been turned into low income-based housing.
    Commissioner White said had there been a limit on the maximum number of units from the very beginning, it would have solved many of the problems.
    Chief Lloyd said the impacts are not just limited to emergency services. Schools, churches and the area food bank are also seeing the impact.
    Commissioner White asked how do you balance the need for affordable housing for those who need it without adding people who need it? Commissioner Breinholt said the city was asked to help with affordable housing, but now the local community isn’t getting it.
    The cat is out of the bag, and there is still a lot of growth that can occur with what’s already been zoned. It’s time to pause and allow the city to catch its breath, Lloyd said.
    By removing it from the future zoning, it puts the city back in the driver’s seat, said Deputy Clerk Anderson.
    The council is concerned and would like to see it happen, and it has to start with the planning commission.
    Commissioner White said she doesn’t have any heartburn in removing it from the future zoning map in the interest of providing the city another tool in its arsenal for reviewing on a case-by-case basis. Commissioner Leavitt concurred.
    The economy of scale is what is driving a lot of it, Jolley said. She said developers can make a lot of money by putting more units in, and then make even more by getting the tax credits.
    Commissioner Peterson said he would like some verbiage should be added noting that this is not a preferred zone.
    Commissioner White said she is in favor of having additional limitations that add teeth. The city has have made changes to the code that should help mitigate the problems that have been seen – such as maximum number of units, distance between, etc. Future developments that are not already underway will have to abide by the new requirements. Chairman Peterson said make completion of a traffic impact study prior to the development would be helpful. The traffic study be upfront and include impacts on all arterial routes in town. Peterson said there should also be other impact studies for emergency services for all high-density housing.
    Michele not paying full property tax on these, which is another nail in the city’s coffin.
    Chairman Peterson asked if a new future zoning map could be sent to the commission in the next two weeks. He would also like to look at impact fees concerning high density units, as one development has the potential to tie up the equivalent of an entire officer, which should be shouldered by the developer. However, the city did just complete an impact fee study and implemented new fees as a result, Jolley said.
    Commissioner White said one option would be a project impact analysis.
    The Utah Land Use Institute has published guidelines for such an analysis, Commissioner Leavitt said. Theoretically water and sewer usage should be looked at prior to designating zones.
    The goal of the study would be for the planning commission and city council to make a more educated decision, Commissioner White said. She said the RM-24 does serve a purpose, which is to keep growth contained so that all the farm land east of town is not swallowed up by developments.
    A public hearing on the new planning map will be scheduled for the February meeting.
    Verbiage changes should be discussed in February, with a public hearing set for March.
    Chairman Peterson said he feels pretty jilted for how the RM-24 zone been abused.
  3. Conditional Use Permits/Home Occupation Permits –
    a. Sydnee Dallam to request home occupation permit to operate Sydnee K Esthetics at her home at 376 E. 1010 North. A C-1 use in an R1-10 zone.
    Dallam recently earned her master esthetician license. She is requesting permission to get a business license to operate out of her Mom’s house. She said there is plenty of room in the home’s driveway. The house is handicap accessible. There is also a sink in the room. There would be one client at a time, with operating hours from 9-5, and no noise impact.
    Commissioner White motioned to approve the conditional use permit. Commissioner Leavitt seconded the motion. The motion carried with Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Lisa White, Zack Leavitt, Wayne Cowley voting aye.
    b. Tyson Curtis to request conditional use permit to install a drive-through window at 1208 S. SR 118 (the former Pizza Hut facility). This is a C-2 Use in a Commercial General Zone.
    Commissioner White asked where the accessible parking spaces will be located, which Curtis showed would be located in the parking lot to the north, where the ramped entrance is. He said the plan is to entirely eliminate the parking spots on the south side of the building and use that area as the drive-through lane.
    To calculate the necessary parking, the commission needs to know the number of tables, Chairman Peterson said. The use of the building will remain a restaurant in the 2,275 square-foot building. Only 1,500 square feet of the facility is for dining space, according to Curtis.
    Parking is calculated on the basis of one space for each four seats or one space for each 100-square feet of gross square feet, whichever is less, said Commissioner White. She asked how the parking in that area is divided up. It is all basically shared space with the plaza to the north.
    Chairman Peterson said some restriping would have to be completed to add some additional parking and directional arrows. The city would prefer a straight approach. The requirements include 60 feet of stacking space, plus one car length for the drive-up window, according to White. Essentially 80 feet in total, or four vehicle lengths.
    Curtis said elimination of the bend would be needed. He asked if it is based on the window location. There are a lot of options, basically limited by the condition of the asphalt.
    Chairman Peterson said the commission would need a plan with dimensions and numbers for approval.
    Curtis is set to return to the commission on February 7 with plans for the drive-through.
    c. Ryan Baker to ask for conditional use permit to expand a non-conforming use at his property, 205 North 500 West. A C-1 use in an R1-10 zone.
    Currently there is a carport that is built on the north property line of the home. Baker would like to enclose the enclose the carport and add a pitched roof to the it and another area that currently has a flat roof to stop some leaking. He would also like to add a storage area in the attic of the carport, which he would like to make 10 feet tall instead of 8 feet tall.
    Baker said the drainage is on his property, and once the roof is built, the drainage would continue to be pitched to the east and west on his land. He also plans to extend the covered porch on the south side of the home to the east and along the east side of the home.
    Chairman Peterson said he is concerned about the fire code.
    Commissioner Cowley asked if the proposed garage goes all the way to the fence line, which Baker said it is.
    Chairman Peterson said this project is more likely a demolition and reconstruction type of project.
    If the project is going to be a demo and reconstruct, could it be moved back from the property line to match the main home and put it in compliance with the zoning setbacks, Commissioner White asked.
    With the work that will have to be done, it could be brought into compliance. One idea would be the leave the north portion of the structure as a covered storage area, and just do the reconstruction in accordance with the required setbacks, and expand the garage structure to the west.
    Chairman Peterson asked if the poles that hold up the west end of the existing carport have footings. Baker said he wasn’t sure how they were installed. Peterson said the footings may not be adequate to support a gabled roof with an attic.
    Baker said he could build a wall on the west side as part of the project, and that his intention is not to have a large structure above the proposed garage. Commissioner White said as long as he met the height restrictions and setbacks, he could do whatever he wanted. The only issue would be the eight-foot portion that borders the property line.
    The building could be expanded to the west, which would change the footprint of the building while staying within the setbacks and helping achieve the goals of the expanded garage.
    A plan will need to be drawn in order to obtain the building permit. Not necessarily an engineer drawn plan. If the plan meets the setbacks, Baker will not have to return to the planning commission.
  4. Ordinance Amendment – Discuss the removal of canopy size restrictions on convenience stores so that their size is limited by setbacks. This would modify Table 31-2.
    Chairman Peterson said he would like to have this modification to the code. Currently canopy size is limited in two places. Peterson said setbacks are the proper place to limit it, rather than the 3,000-square feet limit.
    Peterson said the commission has talked about this, but not motioned it, so he would like to move forward in making the change.
    Deputy Clerk Anderson said the next step would be to have a public hearing and making it an actionable item on the next agenda would be the next step.
    Commissioner White asked what the worst-case scenario is if the change is adopted? If a developer wanted to put their entire lot under a canopy, minus the setbacks, what are the potential issues? Also, the commission did dvote to change the requirements for travel centers as an alternate solution to the canopy/convenience store question.
    Chairman Peterson said the facility would still have to meet fire code, as well as some clear space.
  5. Minutes Approval – Consider approving minutes of meeting hosted Dec. 6, 2023.
    Commissioner Breinholt motioned to approve the minutes. Commissioner Cowley seconded the motion. The motion carried with commissioners Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Lisa White, Zack Leavitt, Wayne Cowley voting aye.
  6. Other Business – The commission revisited a request to modify the rear setback in the commercial zone from 20 feet to 10 feet. Commissioner Breinholt said the whole thing doesn’t meet setback, and the code just says no. There is no hardship there, so there is no reason to allow it.
    Commissioner Cowley said he felt the same thing. He said other cities have similar setbacks. He said he was initially confused because the clinic to the north of the dermatology facility that made this request sits back farther, but its owners acquired more property to accommodate the deeper building.
    Other cities like Delta and Nephi have the same code, Commissioner Cowley said. There is a reason to do it. He said it is better to stay with code by not changing the code, and codes are all about the same so this helps keep it standard.
    Chairman Peterson said he is also for not changing the setback as the 20-feet is a very liberal interpretation of the code, as the building is actually supposed to have a foot of setback for every foot of height. He said this would be giving one person what they want, but its going to open a pandora’s box.
    It there were a hardship this would go to the board of adjustments, Commissioner Breinholt said. However, in this case there is no apparent hardship.
    The Commission’s consensus is not to pursue a change in the code.
  7. Adjournment – Commissioner White motions to adjourn. Commissioner Leavitt seconded the motion. The motion carried with Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Lisa White, Zack Leavitt, Wayne Cowley voting aye.