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Commissioners consider General Plan changes, welcome new member

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The Lehi City Planning Commission welcomed new commissioner Scott Carlson at their Feb. 24 meeting before recommending several agenda items. The Commission splitvotes on another request to add Mixed-Use zoning to the new General Plan.

New Commissioner Scott Carlson has lived in Lehi since 1995. His father and grandfather grew up in town. Carlson is a civil engineer and land surveyor with a small business in Lehi. He served on the Alpine School District Board for eight years.

The Planning Commission quickly and unanimously approved the site plan for the Curtis Center, a 12-acre commercial development in the Holbrook Farms area, 2100 North 3300 West. The Curtis Center is a community center with sports courts for individuals with disabilities.

Architect Curtis Miner presented a plan for The Falls at the Point, changing approximately 11.1 acres at 4200 North Digital Drive from Light Industrial and Commercial to Mixed-Use. For the second time in 2022, the commissioners considered amending the new General Plan to include more Mixed-Use zoning.

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“We recognize we have multiple steps to go before we have a viable project, but the first step is a General Plan amendment because that opens the door for a rezone,” explained Miner. “All the data suggest that this is what the market would support. Right now, there is a gap between Lehi City policy and what we believe the market will support. We’re starting the conversation here.” 

“Why didn’t you propose this last year before the new General Plan was adopted?” asked Commissioner Carlson.

Miner replied that the property owners were not notified that the General Plan was to be updated. Steven Meacham from SDM Development said, “When we heard, we contacted the City Council to express our concerns and they said they would consider a proposal even if it wasn’t consistent with the General Plan. As a property owner it’s unfortunate that we didn’t know about it sooner.”

Miner and Meacham continued their presentation, noting that adding an area of Mixed-Use near the Transit Oriented Developments (TODs) will be attractive to UTA bus routes. Meacham also mentioned rising costs of construction and labor.If the General Plan isn’t amended, Lehi City will be less likely to find an investor to build on the property.

The commissioners and Lehi City staff discussed the Mixed-Use zone and what they want it to look like. “We want this to be a true Mixed-Use, not a gas station and an apartment building. The building going up where Porter’s Place used to be is a good example of Mixed-Use with commercial and office space on the first and second floors and residential on the third floor,” said Community Development Director Kim Struthers.

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“I like the idea of Mixed-Use around the transit zone. Vistas at the Point is on 17 acres and has 364 units. Here we’re talking about taking away units from somewhere that’s already zoned TOD, meets the requirements, has everything we’re looking for with that density. This is more units on less acreage. I want to look at the bigger picture – how this is affecting other things, especially transit,” said Commissioner Heather Newall.

“The population cap is arbitrary because it’s all based on capacity of infrastructure. Capacity of infrastructure can be increased just like roads and sewers and everything else. It’s just money,” noted Commissioner Abram Nielsen.

“Obviously, this is very conceptual, but I see the value in the fact that they’re ready to move on this. Are we going to hold up development because we sat in a meeting and abstractly said maybe those numbers made more sense further up the road? That seems dumb to me,” added Commissioner Greg Jackson.

“We need to keep commercial zones between TODs for things like grocery stores,” added Commissioner Brent Everett. “We’re constrained by capacity and yes, more money would increase that, but it’s also about quality of life.”

Lehi City Engineer Ross Dinsdale reminded the commissioners, “Engineering-wise we’re required by the state to have a certain amount of water per unit. That’s a finite resource.”

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The Lehi City Planning Commission voted 4 to 3 to recommend approval to the City Council for SDM Development’s request to change 11.1 acres at 4200 North Digital Drive from Light Industrial and Commercial to Mixed-Use. Commissioners Everett, Eyre and Newall voted no.

The commissioners unanimously approved or recommended the following items:- Heart of Country Swing’s request for conditional use for a Public Dance Hall at 3940 North Traverse Mtn Blvd.- Mark Garza’s preliminary subdivision review of Somerset Hills, a 5-lot residential subdivision at 795 E 760 N.- SDM Development’s request for approval of Silicon Slopes Storage Concept at 4300 North Digital Drive.- Fort Street Partner’s request for a zone change from TH-5 (transitional holding) to Commercial and R-1-10 (residential) at 3300 N 1200 W.- Lehi City’s request for an update to the Lehi City Standard Details.

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