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West Valley City Journal

Council approves first development in new energy efficient zone

Jan 31, 2022 03:03PM ● By Travis Barton

An aerial view of the land being redeveloped as an energy efficient neighborhood. (West Valley City)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

The West Valley City Council unanimously approved a development that will see a 15-home subdivision built in the city’s residential sustainability zone, a first for the city. 

The zone, created by the city and approved by the council in February 2020, aims to encourage developers to build homes that generates power, conserves water and are energy efficient. The zone is not a requirement, but an option where developers would follow the standards in the zone in exchange for smaller lot sizes. 

“This is our first application and development in the RS zone so we are excited to see this project move forward,” said Steve Lehman, the city’s planning manager. 

The land in question (3734 S. 3200 West) was rezoned from agricultural to the residential sustainability zone in April 2021. Two existing homes on the property will be removed. 

Receiving final plat approval from the council means the Han subdivision, located on 4.4 acres, will have 15 lots with the average square footage of 8,700 per lot. The minimum lot size permitted in the zone is 8,000 square feet. 

In order to meet the efficiency standards required for such a zone, the Han subdivision—to be developed by Eugene Han—requires a solar system capable of generating enough power for the entire home; a tankless water heater; a car charger located inside the garage; WaterSense fixtures for all water sources; and exterior to be 80% brick among others. 

Lehman said these are improvements that make “these homes more sustainable than what we typically see.” 

“This is real exciting,” Councilman Lars Nordfelt said during a January study meeting. “This is going to be a showcase for our city I hope. Something that we can be proud of.” 

Appliances in the home are ENERGY STAR rated, meaning they meet federally mandated guidelines regarding energy efficiency. Though the home itself, as Councilman Scott Harmon pointed out, is not. He suggested the council revisit the ordinance to consider requiring the home be ENERGY STAR rated which discussion was scheduled for a later date. 

Councilman Tom Huynh stated a conflict of interest he had. Huynh will be working with the developer.