PLEASANT GROVE Pleasant Grove's Downtown Advisory Board, which was organized in March, has finished its first task: revising the city's Downtown 2020 Plan, which lays out how to proceed with revitalization in the downtown area.
The original 2020 plan was drafted by city staff. While the advisory board was always part of downtown plans, people came out in droves to several community meetings earlier in the year to make sure their voices were heard before the plan was implemented. Now after a couple of months working on rewriting the plan, those involved in the board feel they are getting it right.
"The initial outrage was because people felt like something was being imposed on them and they didn't have an opportunity for public input," said Downtown Advisory Board chairman Laurel Backman Riddle. "Now there has been a lot of public input and we have implemented changes based on that input."
In their discussions, the board changed the name of the area from the central business district to the downtown village. They have also put in place some protection for existing historic buildings in the downtown area, but Riddle says that the biggest change has been adding a landscaped parklike buffer between residential and commercial development that will be required when those areas abut.
Chris Brightenburg, a member of the board who lives in Lehi but owns an auto parts store in the downtown area, says that it has been enjoyable to take part in suggestions for the city's future, but he pointed out the delicate balance of residential and commercial development and called it the hardest part of the process.
The height of some possible buildings was at the focal point for many members of the board. A few weeks ago, the board agreed that buildings south of Center Street could be up to 80 feet high, with a corresponding setback and approval of a conditional use permit. But this week, an incomplete board voted by a narrow 5-4 margin to allow the same rules to be applied north of Center Street as well.
The revised 2020 plan will now go before the planning commission on June 12 and if approved there it will most likely be considered July 1 by the City Council.
City planner Sean Allen thinks that some of the changes have been good and that the public involvement has helped areas of the planning. He also said that some of the concerns residents have seem to be universal."At first, the way (the board) was approaching it would have made it difficult on business development, but I think they have grown a little more flexible due to some of the adjustments like adding parks to the plan," said Allen. "That's the biggest issue, how will the commercial development impact the residents, and that is the case in nearly every city."