Minutes of the Dec. 6 Planning Commission Meeting

At the Planning Commission of Richfield City, Sevier County, Utah, on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, at the Richfield City Center, Richfield, Utah

The agenda for the meeting is as follows: (NOTE: The agenda may be accelerated or the line items may be discussed in any order.)

  1. Roll Call
  2. Conditional Use Permits/Home Occupation Permits
    a. Antoinette Ostrom to request approval to operate a daycare at 195 E 400 N called Children’s Corner Daycare. This is a C-1 use in an RM-11 zone.
    b. Doug Schut to request approval to operate a woodworking/cabinetry business from his home at 440 West 2300 South. This is a C-1 use in an RR-1 zone.
  3. Short term rentals
    a. Jesse Gettler – To request approval to operate a short-term rental at 435 S. 400 West. This is a C-1 use in an R1-10 zone, number 12 of 39 in STR Zone 3.
  4. Public hearing –
    a. Zoning change for Todd Riches Trailhead Resort – Receive comments on Todd Riches’ request to change the city’s General Plan so that he can apply to change the zoning of parcel 1-10-53. The proposal is to change the parcel currently zoned CG, Commercial General, to RM-11, Multiple Residential District.
    b. Richfield City Master Transportation Plan – Receive comments on proposed updates to the Richfield City Master Transportation Plan. Richfield City is proposing various changes and amendments to its master transportation plan to make it more compatible with anticipated needs.
  5. Action on Public Hearings –
    a. Zoning change for Todd Riches Trailhead Resort – Consider recommending adoption of a change to the city’s General Plan, which would allow for parcel 1-10-53 to be rezoned. The proposal is to change the parcel currently zoned CG, Commercial General, to RM-11, Multiple Residential District.
    b. Richfield City Master Transportation Plan – Consider recommending adoption of the newly updated Master Transportation Plan for Richfield City.
  6. Discussion Item – Names of planning commission members. Lisa and Susan’s terms are up this month.
  7. Discussion Item – Future of RM-24 and RM-11 in Richfield. Richfield is updating its general plan and this item is here to get the commission’s thoughts about the amount of RM-24 and RM-11 currently in Richfield, and what the future should hold for future high density housing developments.
  8. Ordinance Amendments –
    a. Setback requirements – Commercial zones setbacks – Kirt Meacham to request the commission consider modifying the ordinance to reduce rear setbacks in commercial zones from 20 feet to 10 feet.
    b. Consider amending the Mixed-Use definition as the last sentence in the table creates confusion and can be interpreted that it makes more RM-24 zones. It’s proposed to strike the last sentence and replace it with “Mixed Use developments will be required to follow all multi residential zoning and spacing requirements.
    c. Consider removing Mixed-Use from MD and MG zones.
    d. Condominiums – Discuss the one-acre requirement, which may be too restrictive and take away development opportunities. An example of a development of less than an acre was given of the recently constructed tri-plex located at 200 W 600 South.
    e. Short Term Rentals – Discuss options for limiting Short Term Rentals in the city. The average household income in the county is approximately $60,000, and most of the STRs are older smaller homes that could be purchased as primary residences.
  9. Minutes Approval
    i. Consider approving minutes of meeting hosted Nov. 1, 2023.
  10. Other Business
  11. Adjournment.
  12. Roll Call – Present: Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Susan Jensen, Zach Leavitt and Wayne Cowley.
    Excused: Lisa White, Wes Kirshner.
    Others present: Deputy Clerk David Anderson, Antoinette Ostrom, Kurt Meacham, Jesse Gettler, Doug Schut, Todd Riches and Brandon Anderson.
  13. Conditional Use Permits/Home Occupation Permits
    a. Antoinette Ostrom to request approval to operate a daycare at 195 E 400 N called Children’s Corner Daycare. This is a C-1 use in an RM-11 zone.
    Antoinette Ostrom said there is plenty of parking to accommodate what she is proposing, which is a daycare out of her home. Ostrom said the daycare is her dream job. The business would consist of six children in her home from 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
    Commissioner Jensen asked if there would be any employees, which Ostrom said there would be none.
    The home, located on a corner lot, also features a substantial back yard, as well as parking along the front and side. Cars would only be at the home to drop off and pick up the children.
    Commissioner Leavitt reminded Ostrom that a fire inspection is also a requirement of operating a daycare.
    Motion made by Commissioner Breinholt to approve the proposal. Commissioner Jensen seconded the motion. The motion passed with Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Susan Jensen, Zach Leavitt and Wayne Cowley voting aye.
    b. Doug Schut requested approval to operate a woodworking/cabinetry business from his home at 440 West 2300 South. This is a C-1 use in an RR-1 zone.
    He’d be the only employee, providing cabinets for perhaps one kitchen a month. The home behind his shop is approximately 150-feet away from any neighbors in the Meadows Subdivision. The shop is not going to result a nonstop production type of noise.
    The would not be any customers coming in, and deliveries for materials would be only occasionally at the beginning of each job.
    To start the stop would be used primarily in the evenings as well as Fridays and Saturdays. Once Mr. Schut retires from his fulltime job, he would eventually go 8-5, to help supplement his penton. Mr. Schult would pick up hardware himself. He would also order the doors, essentially cutting sheet goods, and building boxes and drawers.
    Motion made by Commissioner Breinholt to approve the business. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Cowley. The motion carried with Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Susan Jensen, Zach Leavitt and Wayne Cowley voting aye.
  14. Short term rentals
    a. Jesse Gettler requested approval to operate a short-term rental at 454 South 400 West. This is a C-1 use in an R1-10 zone, number 12 of 39 in Short-Term Rental Zone 3.
    This is a small, one-bedroom home Gettler wants to convert from long term to short-term rental use. Gettler said its 400 West address provides good access to all the activities in town.
    Motion made by Commissioner Brienholt to approve the short-term rental. Commissioner Leavitt seconded the motion. The motioned carried with Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Susan Jensen, Zach Leavitt and Wayne Cowley voting aye.
  15. Public hearing –
    a. Zoning change for Todd Riches Trailhead Resort – Todd Riches has requested to change the city’s General Plan so that he can apply to change the zoning of parcel 1-10-53. The proposal is to change the parcel currently zoned CG, Commercial General, to RM-11, Multiple Residential District.
    Riches said he wants to be able provide both short-term shares in a condo/hotel/timeshare type of arraignment, as well as the ability for people to purchase a full unit and own it outright as a residence. In order to do that, the property’s zoning has to be changed.
    Chairman Peterson opened the hearing at 6:12 p.m. Hearing no comments from the public, he closed the hearing at 6:13 p.m.

b. Richfield City Master Transportation Plan – Receive comments on proposed updates to the Richfield City Master Transportation Plan. Richfield City is proposing various changes and amendments to its master transportation plan to make it more compatible with anticipated needs.
Chairman Peterson opened public the hearing at 6:13 p.m. and hearing no comments from public on the plan, closed the hearing at 6:14 p.m.

  1. Action on Public Hearings –
    a. Zoning change for Todd Riches Trailhead Resort – The commission considered recommending adoption of a change to the city’s General Plan, which would allow for parcel 1-10-53 to be rezoned from CG, Commercial General, to RM-11, Multiple Residential District – allowing for greater flexibility in how the proposed Trailhead Resort can operate.
    Commissioner Breinholt said he feels like it’s a great development.
    Commissioner Jensen made the motion to recommend to the City Council an amendment to the city’s general plan to allow parcel 1-10-53 to be rezoned from CG, Commercial General, to RM-11, Multiple Residential District. Commissioner Breinholt seconded the motion. The motion passed with Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Susan Jensen, Zach Leavitt and Wayne Cowley voting aye.

b. Richfield City Master Transportation Plan – The commission discussed recommending adoption of the newly updated Master Transportation Plan for Richfield City.
The commission went through each tab of the plan’s online format.
Commissioner Leavitt asked Chairman Peterson about the process the Utah Department of Transportation uses in recommending signals at intersections.
Chairman Peterson explained signals cause congestion, while un-signaled roads will have flow. The idea is to find the balance between the two. To qualify for a new signal, it has to meet certain warrants. This is done through a traffic study, looking at turn movements, stops, class or road, volume of road traffic. There is a set number of warrants that need to be met in the traffic study in order to trigger a signal installation on a UDOT road.
Commissioner Leavitt asked if the metrics would be used when determining if a signal would be placed at the intersection at 1500 South and Main. Chairman Peterson said UDOT personnel are working on that intersection currently.
The Master Transportation Plan’s story map shows the project overview and how the City is growing, and its projected growth in the future. It also includes demographics on housing, average income and other contextual data.
The plan also includes maps that show the existing roads, and the proposed changes. The maps also show which types of roads are proposed – minor or major collectors, arterial, etc. There is also a map which shows what materials each road is made of – paved, gravel or dirt.
The maps also illustrate what type of improvements are anticipated, and where, as well as traffic averages and speed averages. There is also a heat map, which shows crash data.
Active transportation is another component of the plan, which includes proposed bicycle and walking paths. This includes proposed extensions of Richfield’s walking and biking path to the south and the north. One portion of the southern extension is moving forward, between the Rotary Park and 1300 South, with design and construction tentatively set for next year. There are two options for future expansion of this trail to the south.
One road discussed was 100 East between 500 South and 800 South. Commissioner Breinholt said there are portions of the proposed road improvements on 100 East where the right-of-way is very tight. There have been some preliminary discussions about obtaining additional right-of-way in the area, according to Deputy Clerk Anderson.
Commissioner Breinholt also asked about the road project at Centennial Park, noting that the area was once basically a landfill and settling could be a continual issue.
Brandon Anderson asked what is the city doing to ensure the roads are built according to what is outlined in the plans. He said it is good to plan ahead, but was interested in how the city would make sure the plan is followed.
When an applicant goes through a zone change or subdivision process, they are required to follow the master transportation plan, Chairman Peterson said. New developers will be required to install improvements, the same as with previous developments.
Commissioner Jensen said hopefully city engineers are looking at the master transportation plan prior to approving developments.
Commissioner Leavitt motioned to recommend approval of adoption of the updated Master Transportation Plan. Commissioner Cowley seconded the motion. The motion carried with Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Susan Jensen, Zach Leavitt and Wayne Cowley voting aye.

  1. Discussion Item – Names of planning commission members. Commissioner White and Jensen’s terms are up this month. After six years on the commission, Commissioner Jensen said she plans on spending more time with family. She has one name submitted already.
    Anyone else on the commission is invited to submit names of candidates to Deputy Clerk Anderson or City Manager Michele Jolley.
  2. Discussion Item – Future of RM-24 and RM-11 in Richfield.
    Chairman Peterson said this is an item the city council asked the commission to consider. He said the RM-24 got away from the City before a handle was put on it.
    Commissioner Breinholt said he thinks the RM-24 is fine, and that supply and demand will determine the future developments. Commissioner Jensen said the current ones seem to have filled up, which Breinholt said shows there is a demand.
    Commissioner Leavitt said there is a shortage of housing across the state, and areas like Richfield are prime to absorb some of that need.
    However, and influx of people could make the rural nature of the community a thing of the past, Commissioner Cowley said.
    Commissioner Breinholt said the area isn’t growing fast, with a population that has doubled in 50 years.
    If the state is going to invest in development of rural communities, Chairman Peterson said he would like to see the investments be made in infrastructure, businesses and industry, not just housing. Commissioner Leavitt said there is some economic development money that will become available for that purpose from the governor’s office of economic development, as well as federal funds.
    One concern is when the city approves these RM-24 projects, the question is always asked if they are going to be subsidized, said Chairman Peterson. While the subsidized housing is great for the people who live in it, they also tend to tax the community in other ways – putting strain on local charities, churches, foodbank and other ways.
    Deputy Clerk Anderson pointed out that federally subsidized housing may not be addressing local needs, as people relocate to the area for the express purpose of utilizing the subsidized housing.
    Commissioner Leavitt said there are times that you do import it, but also the need exists, and sometimes when the housing is concentrated in one area it makes it more visible. The need is spread out, but when subsidized housing is created, it’s dealing what’s already happening.
    Chairman Peterson said many of the people living in the Eagle View development are from out of the state with no apparent ties to the area.
    Commissioner Breinholt asked what can be done to stop it, to which Chairman Peterson said there likely isn’t a way to. He said it would be beneficial if the city were to be able to have a voice in when subsidized housing is created.
    One example, is the apartment complex near Walmart, which was presented to the city under the premise that it would serve as housing for the employees of a meat packing operation. However, the meat packing operation hasn’t materialized and the apartments are now subsidized.
    Commissioner Cowley said the exact same thing happened to Smith’s meats. They sold property in Salt Lake City that was supposed to be condos, but was turned into subsidized housing. That’s where they got the idea for what they did in Richfield.
    Chairman Peterson said these are things to consider when it comes to zone changes.
    One area where the issue may come to a head is a parcel of land SITLA [Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration] purchased south east of the where Motel 6 was located. He said the planning commission voted not to annex the land, but then the city council decided to go ahead and annex it. Now SITLA is working to create higher density housing on the property.
    Chairman Peterson said he doesn’t believe they have looked into RM-24 spacing, because it won’t meet it.
    Leavitt said SITLA wants to make sure funding continues to flow into the school trust fund, and development and sale of property is one way to do that.
  3. Ordinance Amendments –
    a. Setback requirements – Contractor Kurt Meacham requested the city to reduce commercial zones setbacks from 20 feet to 10 feet.
    Meacham is working with a dermatology clinic on a building expansion. He said even with the expansion, they would have plenty of parking.
    The property owner would like to go closer than 10-feet if at all possible and add more space to the building, Meacham said.
    Commissioner Breinholt said the proposal is in an area where commercial and residential meet, which could be a factor.
    One big issue could be the fire access, said Commissioner Cowley.
    Determining the what the original reason was for the setback in the ordinance would be important, Commissioner Breinholt said.
    Commissioner Jensen said one reason for the setback may be illustrated by the Lin’s Market building, which is built within a few feet of the sidewalk, making it rough for the residential homes in the area. However, there isn’t a road behind this one.
    If the city changed the ordinance, it’s been opened up, Commissioner Jensen said. The back property is kind of useless, but once you change the ordinance, it’s changed for everyone.
    Chairman Peterson said he would like to know the fire code before making any decision on it.
    Deputy Clerk Anderson asked how tall the building would be, citing the ordinance’s provision that the setback could also be determined by height of the building. Meacham said it would be approximately 34-36 feet in height, which would work against the proposal under the current ordinance.
    Commissioner Leavitt said he would like to look at the fire code and see what is allowed. Commissioner Breinholt said there has to be some type of reasoning for why the setbacks are set the way they are.
    Chairman Peterson suggested a subcommittee look at the fire code and talk with other cities to see if they can determine the reasoning behind the setback. Commissioners Breinholt and Cowley are assigned to the subcommittee.

b. Consider amending the Mixed-Use definition as the last sentence in the table creates confusion and can be interpreted that it makes more RM-24 zones. The original proposal was to strike the last sentence and replace it with “Mixed Use developments will be required to follow all multi residential zoning and spacing requirements.”
Planning specialist Kendall Welch submitted a definition that would read as follows: “Mixed Use. Developments that provide for multiple complementary and compatible uses or purposes within a shared building (i.e., vertical mixed use) or development area (i.e., horizontal mixed use). Mixed use may include uses such as, but not limited to, residential housing, recreational amenities, professional office spaces including medical and religious assembly, general commercial or retail uses. For mixed use involving residential and commercial uses, a mix of 33 percent non-residential and 66 percent residential is required, and shall be determined by the square footage of the proposed building or development. No mixed use involving residential uses shall exceed the density of the zoning district in which the mixed use is located (if established), the established density of contiguous zones abutting the subject property, or the recommended density as outlined on the future land use map in the City’s adopted General Plan whichever is the lesser density.”
Chairman Peterson said the proposal is fairly wordy. He said he preferred more succinct phrasing of the definition – “Mixed Use developments will be required to follow all multi-residential zoning and spacing requirements.”
It is something that will have to be considered on a case by case basis. We’re not going to want to create islands of zoning, according to Chairman Peterson.
Commissioner Cowley moved to use the last sentence of the definition written by Peterson and as stated in the agenda. Commissioner Breinholt seconded the motion. The motion carried with Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Susan Jensen, Zach Leavitt and Wayne Cowley voting aye.

c. Consider removing Mixed-Use from MD and MG zones. People are not likely going to do mixed-use in the MD and MG zones.
Commissioner Breinholt said a veterinarian clinic, where the clinic is located on the ground floor and a residence is located above, is becoming a more common occurrence. He said that’s a mixed use. An overnight boarding facility for horses with a residence built into it could also be considered mixed use.
Commissioner Jensen said those instances would be single residences, not an apartment complex. Those types of facilities would be more aimed at on-call staff than a residence.
Chairman Peterson asked if the mixed use should be taken out of the industrial and manufacturing zones currently.
It depends on the situation, Brienholt said. He said while some people may not want a situation where they are living in the same building as their horses, some people do as shown by a project he has been working on.
An overnight clinic would be a situation where someone would be working all night, not necessarily living in the facility.
With the scenarios presented, perhaps the right thing is to leave it in, Commissioner Jensen said.
Commissioner Breinholt motioned to recommend leaving mixed use as a C-2 use in industrial and manufacturing zones. Commissioner Leavitt seconded the motion. The motion passed with Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Susan Jensen, Zach Leavitt and Wayne Cowley voting aye.

d. Condominiums – The commission discussed the one-acre requirement, which may be too restrictive and take away development opportunities. An example of a development of less than an acre was given of the recently constructed tri-plex located at 200 W 600 South.
Commissioner Peterson said he couldn’t disagree with the idea that the development was nice in utilizing a parcel of land smaller than an acre. However, is a four-plex and a tri-plex the same definition as a condominium?
Commissioner Cowley asked what the property tax requirements are. Is it a single property tax divided amongst the tenants, or is each individual paying their own property tax?
Commissioner Jensen said even if it were just one tax, it would be on a larger piece of property and infrastructure.
There is a difference between a townhome and a condo.
Commissioner Leavitt looked up the tax code and said each individual pays their own property tax in a condominium, as well as one’s share for the common areas.
If the one-acre requirement is taken out, as long as it fits the setback and fire code requirements, why limit it to one acre or larger, Leavitt said. The proposal would be to take out the acre requirement, but keeping everything else.
It would be a way to provide more affordability, according to Peterson.
The removal of the requirement could also help address the housing shortage issue, Commissioner Breinholt said.
Commissioner Leavitt motioned to remove the one-acre requirement for condos. Commissioner Breinholt seconded the motion. The motion carried with Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Susan Jensen, Zach Leavitt and Wayne Cowley voting aye..

e. Short Term Rentals – Discuss options for limiting Short Term Rentals in the city. The average household income in the county is approximately $60,000, and most of the STRs are older, smaller homes that could be purchased as primary residences.
Commissioner Jensen said the commission has extensively discussed ideas for limiting short-term rentals and she feels the plan in place is a viable one.
There are currently very few affordable or starter homes in Sevier County, maybe four or five? Smaller homes are being purchased as investments, locking out the people who make average income in the county.
Commissioner Leavitt said using the calculation of 28 percent of median household income at $60,000 a year, the payment would be $1,400 a month to meet the federal guideline.
Currently short-term rentals are based off a percentage per area. One question that arose is if that should be converted into a solid number, Chairman Peterson said. This would give hotels that are looking to develop a hard number on the cap of short-term rentals as they are evaluating potential developments. Peterson said it could be adjusted every five years.
Commissioner Leavitt is in favor of looking at it and adjusting every three years to balance the wants of investors with the needs of the housing industry.
If it is based on value, it becomes complex, Commissioner Jensen said. She said square footage, garages, bedrooms or even the natural increase of value over time, it’s a very tough thing to maintain. Maybe the city could identify areas where homes are older and more affordable and increase restrictions there?
On the market currently, there are currently two homes for sale in Richfield that would hit that $1,400 a month price point, according to Commissioner Leavitt.
Commissioner Peterson asked if price point is something that could be the limiting factor. However, price points are often in flux. He said last year average income was $44,000, but this year it increased to $60,000.
Commissioner Breinholt asked how does the city stop people from buying homes for investment?
Leavitt said if those homes are used as long-term housing, it would be helpful.
Long-term rental solves housing for Richfield residents, Commissioner Jensen said. Short-term rentals do not. Jensen said she had hoped the new development by Walmart would have alleviated the demand for housing in the area, but it’s still difficult to find a three-bedroom unit to rent.
The units by Walmart are based on a sliding scale, so there is an income restriction, Commissioner Leavitt said.
Maybe we leave this alone, and let it run its course, Chairman Peterson said. At some point the Legislature will likely force some type of regulation.
The restrictions would probably be a lot tighter now if not for the attorney telling the city it couldn’t be tighter, Commissioner Jensen said.

  1. Minutes Approval
    i. Consider approving minutes of meeting hosted Nov. 1, 2023.
    ii. Commissioner Breinholt motioned to approve the minutes. Commissioner Jensen seconded the motion. The motion carried with Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Susan Jensen, Zach Leavitt and Wayne Cowley voting aye
  2. Other Business – None
  3. Adjournment – Commissioner Breinholt motioned to adjourn. Commissioner Leavitt seconded the motioned. The motion carried with Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Susan Jensen, Zach Leavitt and Wayne Cowley voting aye.