The Lehi City Planning Commission met virtually for their regular meeting on Thursday, March 26, to comply with the COVID-19 restrictions for gatherings of more than ten people. Commissioners, applicants, and Lehi City staff joined an online meeting from their homes with the live video feed available for the public to view. Public comments could be made on items before the meeting by email, or live. Only four people were on the screen at once, but when anyone spoke, their image would appear.
“Thanks to the City for setting this up. We want to keep the wheels of development turning and this is a great way to do it and keep the public involved,” said Planning Commission Chair Matt Hemmert before the meeting began.
The four-item agenda included James Bullington’s request for approval of a concept plan for an indoor baseball facility at approximately 351 South 1000 East on three acres. “Clutch Performance” will occupy 10,000 square feet of the 45,000 square foot warehouse. The remaining 35,000 square feet will be leased to companies in need of easy freeway access and freeway visibility. Bullington attended the virtual meeting, but the commissioners didn’t have questions for him and no one from the public made any comments. After a brief discussion among the commissioners regarding the 23 DRC comments, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to give a positive recommendation of Bullington’s concept plan to the City Council.
Boyer and Gardner Companies requested a review and recommendation to the General Plan changing 30 acres formerly occupied by Lehi Block, approximately 2300 North 1200 West, from Industrial zone to Commercial zone. Lehi City staff explained that the change fits the city’s vision for the area and includes proximity to major transportation corridors and it also helps expand Lehi’s tax base by taking advantage of regional connections and the expanding market. Changing the land use designation would also help ensure that industrial uses don’t end up back on the site. There was no concept plan associated with Boyer and Gardner Companies’ request, but Lehi City staff recommended the change even if the planned development falls through.
There was no public comment on the Lehi Block zone change and the commissioners unanimously voted to give a positive recommendation to the City Council.
The Avante Recovery Center requested a review and recommendation on proposed amendments to the Lehi City Development Code that would bump the maximum occupancy of a group home from eight to 16 as well as changing the off-street parking requirements to one stall per eight residents and one stall for every two employees. In their application, the Avante Recovery Center explained that research exists showing group therapy is more effective with more individuals in the home. Residents of the group home are not allowed to bring their cars, which reduces the need for parking spaces and limits traffic to and from the site. Approval of the Development Code Amendment would not represent an approval for the project to increase maximum occupancy; Avante would need to submit a new conditional use permit for that exception.
“I have a soft spot for these types of facilities, but I think we’ve already got code for reasonable accommodations. They’re asking to double their occupancy. We have to look at the gain to the community. I don’t think the applicant has proven this change is necessary,” said Hemmert. The commissioners discussed other possible more appropriate changes and whether or not the applicant had proven the need for a code amendment.
“This change would limit the impact on more neighborhoods if they can fit more people into one facility,” said Commissioner Abram Nielsen.
“The size of the facility [over 10,000 square feet] seems reasonable for the number of occupants,” added Commissioner Scott Bunker.
Commissioner Nielsen motioned to approve Avante Group Homes request for a Development Code Amendment and the motion passed with two commissioners voting no, Hemmert and Brent Everett.
Lehi City proposed changes to Chapter 20 of the Development Code to add mobile services as an allowed Home Occupation, including personal service or pet grooming facility businesses that operate out of a mobile unit. After a discussion regarding the need for bathroom facilities in the mobile unit, commissioners determined staff needed to research mobile businesses further. The Planning Commission voted unanimously to table the item.