Parrish Lane off I-15 has become the "gateway" into Centerville, and commercial development there should be attractive and enhance the city's image, the Centerville City Council has decided.

The council Tuesday passed an amendment to the city's master plan encouraging control of signs, landscaping, and strip development on Parrish Lane between the I-15 interchange and Main Street.The change, according to the council, acknowledges the strip is fast becoming the commercial hub of Centerville and is subject to heavy commercial development pressure.

Planning adviser Wilf Sommerkorn told the council the amendment to the master plan encourages certain aesthetic standards such as landscaped berms, fewer curb cuts, and permanent signs.

But stipulations in the city's master plan are not legally binding requirements unless they are included in the sign, zoning, and other ordinances, Sommerkorn said.

He also acknowledged that some of the master plan phrases are vague and open to interpretation, especially on commercial signs, the result of protests by some business owners and council members.

A stipulation that only monument signs on landscaped berms should be allowed was changed to "only monument signs should be encouraged" because of objections raised that the wording was too restrictive and could discourage businesses from locating in Centerville.

The master plan now states that elements of strip commercial development should be avoided, including frequent curb cuts for driveways, lack of landscaping, large unattractive signs, buildings too close to the street, and "unappealing streetscapes."

Councilman Michael R. Barton questioned the vagueness of the sign phrase, saying, "What is a `large unattractive sign'? I know what I think a large unattractive sign is but it may not be what someone else thinks of it."

The master plan amendment calls for a landscaped berm buffer strip fronting clustered commercial development on Parrish Lane, with only permanent, monument-style signs encouraged.

"As a major gateway to the city, the appearance of the Parrish Lane commercial area should be an important consideration," it concludes. "City officials and commercial developers should create a `gateway' impression with a Centerville identity near the I-15 interchange.

"Such features as landscaping, framing views of the city and the Wasatch Mountains, and city identification monuments should be considered in development of properties on Parrish Lane immediately east of the frontage road."