Thursday, September 15, 2016

City Council 6-Sep-2016: Splash Pad Fence, R-1-40 to R-1-30 Rezone Request

2016-09-06 Splash PadPrior to the meeting the council received numerous emails regarding the zone change request on the agenda. Most of the attendees at the meeting came to share their views on this issue. We had also received several emails regarding a small parking area in Canterbury that was recently cleaned up. I was surprised no one attended to bring up this issue given the number of emails. I also was a little surprised that there were no public comments on the water quality issue that’s been in the news of late. About 50 people were present.

Because one of the issues on the agenda was a rezone from R-1-40 to R-1-30 I would be interested in your response to the following 1 question poll.

In a survey conducted earlier this year the most frequently cited reason for living in Highland was large lots. The city now has three residential zones; which one meets your minimum criteria for large lots? free polls

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Public Comment

  • One resident spoke to the rezone issue in the public comment portion of the meeting when other rose to speak on this issue we deferred them to the public hearing portion of the agenda for this specific issue.


  1. MOTION: Approval of Meeting Minutes for the City Council Regular Session – Aug 16, 2016. Approved unanimously with minor changes. Click here to view the minutes.

  2. MOTION: Ratify the Mayoral Appointments to the Highland Library Board – Nancy Passaretti and Sue Carey. Approved unanimously after a brief discussion. One of the two appointments is an Alpine resident (Sue Carey). Click here for more details.

  3. MOTION: Approval and Award of Bid for the Construction of a Fence around the Splash Pad – The Fence Specialists. We received bids from three vendors to construct a 4 ft. aluminum fence around the splash pad.
    2016-09-06 Splash Pad Fence
    The two primary motives in seeking these bids were (1) to help prevent young children from running out into the street and (2) to help keep dogs from leaving deposits in the splash pad area which create water cleanliness issues (it would probably be more correct to say help keep humans from walking their dogs in the splash pad area where the animals are likely to leave deposits of one sort or another).
    2016-09-06 Dog Queue
    Ed Dennis asked why not put a 6 ft. fence and there was some discussion. We unanimously approved the $28,989 bid from Fence Specialists for a 4 ft. black powder coated commercial grade aluminum fence. We applied for and received a Utah County Communities A grant for $9,428.15 for this project. The net cost will be about $19,600. Note, the other bids were for $31,810 and $39,500. Click here for more details.

  4. MOTION: Approval of a six-month time extension for a Conditional Use Permit – Blackstone. The current owners of the Blackstone development asked for a 6 month extension on their building permit. The plat which we approved earlier expired in December. In order for the initial permit to not expire the developer would need to show that substantial construction work has been completed on the project. If we had not approved the extension request this would have gone to a judge for a determination if the developer had met the standard (which is not well defined). My view was that the project has made significant progress (preliminary and final plats approved, and civil construction plans substantially completed). Brian and Dennis felt that since the project was forced on us against the will of a majority of the council and many residents that we should not approve the extension. What was not discussed and what we could have done was to deny the 6 month extension and grant an extension that would expire when the plat expired in December. I wish I would have thought of that at the time. The vote to approve the six-month extension was approved 3 to 2. Yes: Tim, Ed, and Rod; No: Brian and Dennis. Click here for more details.

  5. MOTION: Preliminary Plat Approval for a 9 lot, single family residential subdivision, located at 11580 North 6000 West – Gable Ridge. Unanimously approved. Click here for more details.
    2016-09-06 Gable Ridge Prelim Plat

  6. MOTION: Preliminary Plat Approval for a 28 lot single family residential
    subdivision, located at 9725 North 6800 West - Sky Ridge Estates
    . Unanimously approved. Click here for more details.
    2016-09-06 Edge Homes Prelim Plat


  1. PUBLIC HEARING/MOTION: Request for a re-zone from R-1-40 to R-1-30 of 28.38 acres located at 6475 West 11800 North– Oak Ridge Subdivision. As mentioned there was substantial input prior to the meeting on this item and a fair number of people commented on the change the vast majority were opposed to the rezone from R-1-40 to R-1-30. The rezone would allow a developer to go from a maximum of 30 lots in the 28 acre parcel to a maximum of 41. The developers concept plan showed 41 lots however he brought a 38 lot plan to the meeting.
    2016-09-06 Oak Ridge Concept
    A quick summary of the arguments from the email include (my comments in italics):
    • The local elementary school is already overcrowded. According to a teacher I know this is an issue. But it is not one that the city is responsible to manage. Here is a graph showing Ridgeline and Westfield enrollment history. It looks to me as though one solution could be to change the boundaries so that some students move from Ridgeline to Westfield but again this is not a city issue. Alpine School District will be updating the information the chart was based on in late October.
      Ridgeline and Westfield Enrollment
    • Increased traffic issues when there is already a problem at 11800 N and Highland Blvd. The spreadsheet below shows my rough calculations with respect to the impact on traffic.
    • East to West through traffic on the western portion of Bull River Road will increase. True but this will be true regardless of a rezone.
    • Concerns about the a developer purchasing the property and then selling it to someone else. This is not specific to the rezone question.
    • Concerns about a developer asking for R-1-20 after R-1-30 is approved. This is not specific to the rezone question. 
    • Concerns about dust and construction vehicle traffic during construction. This is not specific to the rezone question.
    • Concern about a trail to the school being eliminated. Note the trail currently runs through private but undeveloped land. The city master plan does not show a trail going from the Open Space land south of this property to the school. So there is no trail to eliminate.
    • The recent resident survey indicated that the #1 reason residents liked living in Highland was large lots. Note, the new R-1-30 zone has similar frontage and set back requirements to R-1-40 but allows for an average lot size of 30,000 sq. ft.
    • A zoning change will exacerbate the issues that caused the city to raise utility rates. From my point of view this is not true.
    • The R-1-30 zone was defined as a transition zone. Oak Ridge is surround by R-1-40 except for a narrow section across 11800 that is zone R-1-20. Note, about 2/3rd of the lots south of the development are in an “Open Space” area. Technically Open Space developments are in a R-1-40 but smaller lot sizes are allowed in exchange for shared green space (i.e. parks and trails). To me strongest argument for leaving R-1-40 in place is that it is nearly completed surrounded by R-1-40 developments.
    Note, during the meeting residents focused almost exclusively on issues that were relevant to R-1-30 vs. R-1-40 and were respectful and civil in their disagreements. I really appreciated that. Thanks!

    The developer and broker shared the following information to support the R-1-30 rezone request with the council:
    • The landowners care about the community. Selling land for the school and donating part of the land for the neighboring church is evidence of that. I was disappointed that this was mentioned. Past actions of the land owner as a reason to allow a rezone have no relevance in my mind to the request. If we are arguing about the benefits to the community of a rezone then the opinion of someone that has acted in the communities best interest adds weight to their opinion. If someone did good (e.g.. donated land for a church) with the expectation that the city would do them a favor then that doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t believe this to be the case but that is how the brokers letter could be interpreted.
    • The topography of the land means that if it remains R-1-40 it will be difficult to develop without creating odd sized lots and having a lot of variances in lot size. I don’t think lot size variances are that significant.
    • With the R-1-30 zone the developer is willing to cut down the number of lots, extend the trail on the southern boundary to the school (assuming ASD permits a gate to be installed in the fence on the south side of their property).
    • The developer is also willing to provide an easement to connect the north/south trail in Dry Creek with the sidewalk on the south side of 11800 N.
    • The developer is willing to design the east-west road with traffic calming curves and put in other traffic calming measures.
    • The developer is willing to reduce the number of lots from 41 to 38.
    • The developer will put two detention basins in the development on the SE and SW corners of the development.
    Note, a couple of other items that came up either in email discussion or at the meeting dealt with the average household size in Highland and Highland’s tax rate. I did some research and here is the best information I have. Note, the average household size in Highland according to the 2010 US Census is 4.39 (down from 4.53 in 2000). Below is a chart of the comparative city taxes in Utah County on a $400,000 home in 2013. In North Utah County only Alpine has a lower city property tax.
    2016-09-16 Comparative City Property Taxes
    The council discussed the issue for a while after the public comment session was over. Rather than have a discussion between council members we were addressing the audience with most of our remarks. That is not really how we are supposed to conduct ourselves but that is what happened.

    For me, I could not vote to make the change given the 6 to 1 planning commission vote to keep the land zoned R-1-40  and the near unanimous residential opposition. Not, when this is a discretionary matter. Brian made the point that we should only approve the rezone request if there are clear and compelling reasons that this is appropriate. This could include the land’s topography and transition issues. He made a motion to deny the R-1-30 rezone request and asked the developer to work with residents and the planning commission to see if there are stipulations to the rezone request that could be added which would address the topography issues and resident concerns. The motion passed 3 to 2 (Yes: Brian, Ed, Rod; No: Dennis and Tim).

    A R-1-30 rezone might allow the developer better address some of the resident concerns with any development (i.e. trails, traffic calming measures, additional detention … ). Stipulations could be added to a rezone authorization that could include these features and limit the number of lots. These would be binding on the current or any future developer.   Click here for more details.
  2. RESOLUTION: Approval of an Interlocal Agreement with Utah County – Major Crimes Task Force. I had two concerns. (1) that funds derived from criminal forfeitures would not reduce the city’s financial obligations to the Task Force and (2) that any city could withdraw from the agreement and any time without resolving unpaid assessments. The first concern was resolved when the chief said that all funds from criminal forfeitures go to the state and the state allocates them on a priority basis. The second concern wasn’t resolved but I could live with it. The council unanimously authorized the mayor to sign this agreement. Click here for more details.

  3. RESOLUTION: Approval of an Interlocal Agreement with Utah County –
    Community Development Block Grant Program
    .  Erin Wells provided a good summary of the program (see staff presentation). The bottom line for me is that this program is funded by federal dollars and since the federal government is spending more money than is collects each year I believe it is irresponsible on our part to encourage discretionary spending. I know it is a small thing and we may lose some potential future benefit but I believe it is important to do our part to encourage the federal government to be responsible when we can. When cities and counties take federal monies there are usually strings attached; so when we take federal dollars we are in effect expanding the scope of a federal government that has already exceeded the boundaries put in place by the founders (at least in my view). The council voted unanimously to not renew the agreement. Click here for more details.


  • .Status of Full Time City Engineer – Nathan Crane, City Administrator



Requested by / Owner

Due Date


Road Capital Improvement Plan for FY 15-16. Prioritize and Communicate to Residents

City Council

Sep 2016

Study underway

Election Policy City Council/
Jody Bates
Jan 2017 In progress
Council Policy and Procedures City Council

In progress

Determine Park Use for Recreation

City Council
Parks Staff


In progress

HW Bldg. – PW Storage Status

City Council


In progress

Options for Fire & Police Mayor ?


Employee Pay Rate and Benefit Comparison Mayor & City Council Jan 2017 Council action in Aug.
Full Time Engineer – status Rod Mann / Nathan Crane Sep 2016 Nathan report


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