An emotional plea to amend the concept of a planned unit dwelling development in Bountiful failed to sway a majority of the City Council Wednesday night, despite assertions by developer Richard Prows that the change is needed to keep Prowswood Inc. solvent.
Prowswood is one of the foremost developers of condominium and planned unit development complexes in the state. Such projects are a conditional use in Bountiful, requiring exemptions so developments can be built in traditional subdivisions. Higher density, smaller lots and smaller streets are generally acceptable in planned unit developments, since they remain in private ownership and the city has no responsibility for maintenance.At question is Prowswood's Danbury Lane development at 10th North and Second West in Bountiful. Prows told the council that changes in the market make it impossible to complete the project with condominiums as originally planned because the units simply will not sell. For that reason, the company wants permission to change the second phase of the project to single-family houses on small lots.
Prowswood was appealing a decision by the city's Planning Commission that denied the proposed change despite a staff recommendation in favor of the concept.
Prows told the council that his company is experiencing serious cash flow problems, and despite efforts to market the remaining condominiums using heavy discounting, the company is losing $47,000 per month. He said the company must stop the drain if it is to remain solvent.
"We have to complete the project if I am to survive," Prows said. "But we must change what we are offering because the market for condominiums simply is not there anymore."
Prows told the council that it could face a Catch-22 situation if it does not work with his company to find an alternative. "If I'm not here anymore (out of business), how are you going to make me finish the project?"
The company had proposed that the second phase of the project substitute 27 single-family homes on 4,000-square-foot lots for the originally approved 50 condominium units. Prows said there is a market for the single-family houses and he believes changing the concept will allow the company to complete the project and remain financially sound.
The city staff recommended in favor of the change as long as the lots are not fenced and no barrier is put in place to separate the first phase from the second. City Manager Tom Hardy said the planned unit development ordinance requires that 30 percent of the project land remain in commonly held open area controlled either by the developer or a homeowner association. Hardy said if the lots are fenced, the project would not meet the 30 percent open area requirement.
Residents living in the first phase oppose the plan because they believe the change would alter the lifestyle of the project, attracting families with children who would overload recreation facilities, such as the clubhouse and swimming pool. Most indicated they would accept the change only if the purchasers of the new homes were excluded from using existing facilities and if a barrier were constructed that would discourage children from entering the condominium portion of the project.
The separation is not acceptable to the city because of the requirement that planned unit developments have a minimum of 6 acres. The total project is 9.4 acres, with just under 5 acres presently developed. By splitting the project with a fence or other barrier, the project would not meet the 6-acre minimum.
The council voted 3-2, with Councilwomen Phyllis Southwick and Barbara Holt in opposition, to uphold the Planning Commission's denial of the amendment.
Prows said following the meeting that he will be back with an alternate suggestion shortly.
"I have to. We have to complete that project. We have no choice."