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West Valley City Journal

City code, 3500 South lot to remain intact after council denies proposals

Feb 01, 2018 08:15AM ● By Travis Barton

The city council voted to deny a zone change to this land that would have seen townhomes built on an acre lot. (West Valley City)

Two items were denied by the West Valley City Council on Jan. 9. One by unanimous decision and the other due to lack of majority. 


The council’s unanimous decision came on a wording change in the city code that would have allowed certain rezones on properties under three acres.  City code is currently two acres, but Dwell Design Build, a residential construction firm that applied for the change, wanted it raised to three acres. The council approved its current two-acre ordinance in July 2015.

While the planning commission originally denied the application in October, it later moved to approve the change with the stipulation that rezones to 7,000 square-feet lots (R-1-7 zones) were eliminated. Dwell Design Build accepted the removal. The planning commission decided to allow the change believing that applications should be evaluated on an individual basis. 

James Graham, the applicant, told the city council that the application is for a specific property which has high density on two sides and they would like the larger lots. He felt it would be good for the community. 

The council felt otherwise, with Councilwoman Karen Lang pointing out this would create a larger change throughout the city. 

“If we change this, it doesn’t just affect only their lot, but so many more acres of property within the city. And I’m not willing to make a change that would affect so many acres,” she said. 

The change would affect 96 acres in the city according to Steve Pastorik of the community and economic development department. 

A tie

In a 3-3 vote (Councilman Don Christensen was absent), a majority could not be found on a rezone application that would have seen an acre lot converted into a 12-unit townhome project. 

The property in question, located at 5340 West 3500 South, has a house on the southwest corner which would have been demolished and replaced with four 3-unit townhomes with two-car garages. According to the Salt Lake County Assessor, the home was built in 1900. 

Aaron Haaga of the Ambrose Group, the applicant for the project, said they worked hard to ensure the townhomes would be a complement to the city. He said it was designed as a place where millennials could grow into with their families. 

However, both Councilwoman Lang and Councilman Tom Huynh felt the property was too dense for the area with single family homes to the north, west and east. They, along with Councilman Jake Fitisemanu Jr, voted for denial. 

Councilman Steve Buhler said he felt it was a quality project while Councilman Lars Nordfelt said it would be nice to develop the property. Mayor Ron Bigelow also voted in favor. 

A tie vote is the equivalent of denial, though the proposed zone change could return.