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West Valley City Journal

Proposed used car business denied headquarters on 3500 South

Jan 31, 2017 02:20PM ● By Travis Barton

This empty lot next to a house at 3500 S. 5430 W. was denied a change to the general plan that would have seen a small used car business installed. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]


The West Valley City Council voted unanimously to deny a change to the General Plan that would have seen a used car business added at 5430 W. 3500 S. The vote took place during a city council meeting on Jan. 10.


A change would have seen the property turned to a general commercial zone, something the mayor and city council did not feel comfortable doing right now.


“As a city council, we’re not just looking at today, tomorrow, next five years. We’re looking at the next 50 years, next 100 years,” said councilman Steve Buhler. “And once the zoning is changed, in my opinion its very unlikely it would go to a more restrictive zone. It always seems to go more commercial so once the zoning is changed to C-2 (general commercial), we would have no control and whatever is permitted in a C-2 zone is permitted.”


Mayor Ron Bigelow added, “Although it may have these functions now…(if) it’s zoned commercial so then it can be any number of things.”


Jose Rodriguez was the applicant for the change and owns three used car businesses in West Valley, Salt Lake and Magna. He said he wanted to make this location his headquarters to facilitate paperwork and coordination going forward.


“I want to put my marketing team, my accounting, all the business stuff that has to be done with all three locations, I want to put it there because it’s easy for me to move around,” Rodriguez said. He said he can’t do that there without plan change to general commercial.


If the property was only used as an office headquarters, there would be no need for the plan change. But Rodriguez said in order for it to be a corporate office, the DMV requires it to be a used car dealership. An estimated six cars would have been held at the headquarters.


The existing home at the property would have been used as the desired corporate office.


Based on the city’s business license database, 35 used car businesses exist within the city with 66 percent of those businesses located on either 3500 South or Redwood Road. That is one of the reasons the planning commission recommended denial.



Councilmembers Lang and Huynh shared concerns about possible semi-trucks loading and unloading cars at the site. It’s location along 3500 South makes it an unfavorable location to do such maneuvers. Rodriguez assured them all loading and unloading would take place at his Magna location where he reworked an abandoned property in 2005 to serve that purpose.


“I don’t do short term things, I do long term,” Rodriguez told the city council.


Rodriguez said he understands the council’s concern about what might happen to the property in the future. He added that if a different business comes in it would need a conditional use permit which the council would have the power to deny.


Bigelow said the area is surrounded by residential and maybe now isn’t the right time for this kind of change.


“One thing that is of concern to me is how will this impact where it’s actually at,” Bigelow said. “On one side is commercial, but the other parts around it are residential with an entrance into a residential street. That’s a pretty compelling concern.”


Different change approved


Another change to the general plan was on the Jan. 10 agenda. This one was passed unanimously.


The change occurs at 4500 S. 2700 W. where the medium-density residential area in the general plan reverts to its previous incarnation as a non-retail commercial area. Zoning changed from residential to agriculture.


Steve Pastorik, planning director, presented this item to the city council during a study meeting on Jan. 3. He explained that in May 2016, a change was approved by the city council for the development of a senior condo project.


While the development agreement was approved, it was never signed by the applicant who eventually dropped the project leaving the zoning changed but not utilized what it was changed for.


Pastorik said they plan to avoid this scenario in the future by requiring signatures on those development agreements before they are brought to the council.