PLEASANT GROVE — A home that Brigham Young once slept in, a 19th-century drugstore and an old carriage house can all be found in Pleasant Grove.

The city harbors numerous historic homes and businesses downtown, and residents are worried that action by the Planning Commission and City Council will get rid of the historic part of downtown.

Mark Riddle and his wife, Laurel Backman Riddle, volunteered as spokesmen for the Pleasant Grove Citizens for Responsible Development to protest a rezoning that they believe will jeopardize the historical district as well as cause problems for the city.

The city's planning and zoning department filed a zoning request to create an overlay zone for commercial use in a residential area, roughly from 200 North to 500 South and 300 East to 100 West. The zone would still be a residential area but would allow for commercial development and residence.

Discussion and public hearings for the overlay zone have been held for several weeks before the Planning Commission, but the commission has yet to reach a decision. At the last meeting on Jan. 24, 96 people wanted to speak to the commission about the proposed zoning change, requiring the commission to put off a decision, said Amanda Fraughton, Pleasant Grove city recorder.

The Riddles' home on Center Street was one of the first homes built in Pleasant Grove, and Laurel Riddle's family has occupied it for eight generations. Their main concern is for the historic homes. They say that if commercial development flourishes, it would change the historical value of the neighborhood.

One developer has previously voiced intent to build two 10-story towers on Center Street between Main Street and 100 East. The Riddles, along with many of their neighbors and other residents in Pleasant Grove, don't want large commercial buildings and fear not only for the historical nature of the area, but also for the integrity of their homes.

Laurel Riddle said she worries that if construction begins near her home, the walls and foundation would not be able to withstand the movement of ground so near. She also said her husband makes money from a garden on the east side of their home, which would be continually shaded by towers.

"There's (also) the issue of preserving heritage," Laurel Riddle said.

Beth Olsen, Pleasant Grove historical preservation chairwoman, said business needs to be brought back to downtown, but not in the form of high-rise buildings.

"Large buildings are out of place with our historic character of our town and block the citizens' view of the mountains," she said.

The Planning Commission, which will decide whether or not to recommend the zoning change to the City Council, will meet again Wednesday.

Community Development director Ken Young, who put in the zoning change request, will recommend the Planning Commission hold the decision indefinitely until a downtown advisory board can be formed, said Greg Stockhoff, assistant city planner.


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