Residents continue to oppose plans to build a subdivision on seven acres of ground in the city's south end, opposition that has blocked development of the area for more than six months.
The residents first opposed plans to build a series of fourplexes on the property, asking instead that the city buy it and turn it into a long-promised park.New plans to build single-family residences on half the property, approved by the Planning Commission last week, have been tabled by the City Council.
Property owner Blair Jones initially proposed a series of fourplexes on the seven acres along the I-15 frontage road near 1400 South. Residents of adjacent subdivisions signed petitions and threatened legal action in March to block the multi-family housing.
Jones subsequently drew up several more development proposals, some on a smaller scale, and negotiated with the city to sell the property for a city park.
None of the proposals has been accepted, due in part to continuing opposition from neighbors. The property's north boundary is an open Weber Basin Water Conservancy District irrigation ditch, which has also blocked development.
The city wants the ditch piped and covered before it will approve development plans. The district says it isn't responsible for covering the ditch, and Jones says piping and covering it, which could cost upward of $50,000, would make any development unprofitable.
Residents of the three subdivisions around the seven acres are continuing to pressure city officials to use all or part of the area for a city park. A park is needed in the area and has been promised by the city for several years, they maintain.
The residents offered to form a special improvement district, tax themselves and pay for the park in addition to volunteering labor.
The city has committed its money to finishing and improving its existing parks, including the new one on Shepard Lane, and says there's no money for the park.
The latest proposal submitted by Jones - called, somewhat ironically, Parkland Subdivision - is for 11 single-family lots on the east 4.6 acres of the land, along 35 East Street.
The west portion is vacant and Jones told the council he is open to negotiations to sell it to the city if a park is planned.
Residents oppose the latest proposal because of the subdivision's configuration, with four of the 11 lots drawn as "flag lots," with extended common driveway areas for access to the street.
They also oppose it because the land left vacant and possibly usable for a park is along the I-15 frontage road.
The proposal was approved by the Planning Commission, but council members greeted it with a lack of enthusiasm.
"Those are some awfully creative lots in there. Isn't there a better way to do this?" Mayor Robert Arbuckle asked as he looked at the lot configuration.
Jones said he has backed off proposing apartments, fourplexes or even duplexes because of opposition from neighbors. He has recently acquired 28 acres to develop in Bountiful, Jones said, which is taking most of his time and attention.
"I've got my hands full down in Bountiful. The easiest way to get this done is single-family lots, and this appears to be the only way to get them in there," Jones said, referring to the long, narrow boundaries of the property.
After reviewing the proposal, the council decided to table it until its next meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17.