Tuesday, September 19, 2017

City Council 18-Jul-2017: Country French No Build Zone, Preliminary Plats for Dr. Larsen Dental Office and Oak Ridge, Financial Sustainability Study, R-1-30 Zone Application

Forty-two residents and guests attended the council meeting. Most were there because of the No Build setback question in Country French Estates. 


  • Anne Hansen: Expressed support for proposed fireworks ban and indicated she would support a complete ban in the future.

  • Neal Evans: Asked that item 9 (R-1-30 zone application) and 3 (Oak Ridge Preliminary Plan) be discussed together.  Request was denied as they were independent issues (i.e. the result of a vote on one has no bearing on the other).


  1. MOTION: Approval of Meeting Minutes for the City Council Regular Session – June 20, 2017 Click here to view the minutes. Unanimously approved.


  1. PUBLIC HEARING / MOTION: Amend Country French Subdivision Plats A and B – No Build Restrictions. Click here to view background info from the agenda. Residents of Country French Estates who live on lots that border Bull River have an 80 ft. No Build recorded on their plat (see lots with the red line in the background below). The city has enforced this restriction by not approving any structures which require a building permit. The No Build restriction was proposed by the developer as a means of mitigating the impact of building homes adjacent to Bull River which sit on lots that are substantially above the existing Bull River homes. Country French lots that border Bull River range from 0.69 to 1.25 acres compared to the pre-existing 2 to 4 acres lots in Bull River (see lot size info in Highland Zoning and Lot Size spreadsheet – scroll to the right until you see Country French).

    Highland City has historically enforced the No Build restriction by not approving structures (except for fences) that required a building permit. Matt Bowman, a Country French Estates owner, is contesting the validity of the No Build restriction as it relates to pools. Pools are below ground structures which have no impact on the view shed.
    2017-07-18 No Build Zone Satellite
    A number of Bull River Residents expressed their view that the no build restriction should remain and expressed their disagreement with several of the arguments made by the Country French home owner requesting a change to the policy. Part of the argument against the no build restriction was that it was invalid because when it was discussed in the planning commission a member of the commission who supported the restriction was a resident of Bull River and therefore had a conflict of interest and should have recused himself. Prior to the meeting the request from the home owner changed from a removal of the no build restriction to the allowance of below ground pools in the no build area. Following the public hearing and a brief discussion I moved to deny the application to amend the plats and ask the residents of Bull River and Country French to meet and see if they can come up with a compromise that protects the interests of both parties and then bring the agreement to the Sept 5th council meeting.

  2. MOTION: Preliminary Plat Approval for a 37 lot single family residential subdivision located at 6475 West 11800 North – Oak Ridge, Patrick Ord. Click here to view background info from the agenda. A resident requested that items 3 and 9 (how the R-1-30 zone is to be applied) be heard together. The council decided to keep with the current agenda. I assume the request to discuss the items together presumed that if it was decided that the R-1-30 should only be used in on the boundary between Highland and other cities that this plat approval could be denied. That is not the case, the zone change for this parcel of land was already approved and this decision was an administrative one to ensure that the plat conformed to city code.
    2017-07-18 Oak Ridge Preliminary Plat
    The only substantive changes from the initial design to this one was that a detention basin on the southeast side of the property was replaced with a drainage easement and some lots along the south border had been widened. A resident asked that there be additional dimensional changes made to lots on the southwest. The city attorney advised us that since the plan complies with city code mandating any additional changes was beyond the scope of our authority. Note, the planning commission recommended approval of the preliminary plat 7 to 0. The council unanimously approved the plat. 

  3. PUBLIC HEARING / MOTION: Conditional Use Permit and Site Plan Approval for a Professional Office Located in the R-P-Zone at 11020 No. 5500 West – Garon Larson. Click here to view background info from the agenda. The plan presented was for a 2 story 13,000 sq. ft. building. The architect indicated that they were considering reducing this to a 10,000 sq. ft. building but would keep everything else the same. The city engineer confirmed that we would be narrowing the road at the entrance to the residential area to the north as a means of mitigating flow-through traffic. The permit an site plan were unanimously approved by the council.
    2017-07-18 Dr Larsen Office Layout
    2017-07-18 Dr Larsen Office Elavations

  4. MOTION: Approval of a Contract for the Highland City Comprehensive Financial Sustainability Plan - Lewis and Young Agreement. Click here to view background info from the agenda. After reviewing proposals from two vendors on an economic study staff and councilman Dennis felt that Lewis and Young’s comprehensive financial sustainability plan proposal would provide the most useful information to us with the budget we have available. It was unanimously approved.

  5. ORDINANCE: The Adoption of a Franchise Agreement - Rocky Mountain Power. Click here to view background info from the agenda. The new franchise agreement has a ten year horizon rather than the previous 25 year. Rocky Mountain felt that 25 years was too long. The  new agreement will have no impact on residents. Brian Braithwaite asked that Rocky Mountain look into landscaping possibilities for the substation at 5600 and SR 92. The representative agreed to investigate. The council unanimously approved the  agreement.

  6. ORDINANCE: Amending the Telecommunication Service Provider Gross Receipt Tax and the Municipal Energy Sale and Use Tax. Click here to view background info from the agenda. We need to amend the agreement to comply with state regulations. Residents will not be impacted. The council unanimously approved the amendments.

  7. MOTION: Approval for Extension of Franchise Agreement – CenturyLink. Click here to view background info from the agenda. The current agreement with the city expires soon. CenturyLink requested a 5 year extension of the current agreement. This was unanimously approved.

  8. PUBLIC HEARING / ORDINANCE: Amendment to Section 3-4251 related to the applicability of the R-1-30 Zone. Click here to view background info from the agenda. The planning recommended that the zone be applied only to properties adjacent to higher density zone in adjacent cities 7 to 0. Residents commented that Highland wanted to maintain the  R-1-40 zone within the city. Personally, I was not sure because the recent survey (see my notes from the March 21, 2017 meeting for complete survey responses) had conflicting results.

    This confusion from this chart is that the average lot sizes for Highland’s three standard zones are:

    R-1-20: 20,835 (0.48 acres)
    R-1-30: 25,941 (0.60 acres)
    R-1-40: 33,757 (0.77 acres)

    The question in my mind is what zones were people thinking of when they said 40,000 and 30,000 sq. ft.? R-1-40 and R-1-30 or did they know that R-1-40 lots averaged 33,757 sq. ft. and R-1-30 averaged 25,941? If the former it means that a significant majority of residents perceive R-1-30 to be a large lot. Because the question was not clear I can’t trust the response. A better survey question would have been to list the three zones along with their average sizes and ask the question.

    Although the question did align itself with zoning, again I don’t know if residents understood the implication of their response. Assuming respondents understood the questions then it is clear that R-1-30 is the clear winner. Here are the densities by zone:
    R-1-20: 1.65 average – 2.19 allowed
    R-1-30: 1.33 average – 1.46 allowed
    R-1-40: 1.07 average – 1.09 allowed

    When the council voted those who supported utilizing R-1-30 without restrictions felt that this was what residents wanted and those the sided with the planning commission did not or as in my case were not sure. The motion to approve the amendment restricting R-1-30 use to properties adjacent to higher density properties in adjacent cities failed in a 2 to 3 vote. (Yes: Brian Braithwaite, Rod Mann; No: Dennis LeBaron, Ed Dennis, Tim Irwin).

  9. RESOLUTION: Approval of a Notice of Firework and Open Fire. Click here to view background info from the agenda. The council unanimously approved adding the following areas as restricted zones with respect to fireworks: Bull River drainage areas, Highland Hollow Subdivision drainage areas; Dry Creek drainage areas, and Town Center Splash Pad


  • Development Center Property: Councilman Dennis expressed concern that the Development Center board recently met and supported a boundary change that would move the property south of the High School from Highland to American Fork. He cited Sunday closing as an issue and mentioned that if we lost the property to American Fork we would be losing potential revenue. Note, subsequent to this meeting I had lunch with Bill Exeter, the Dev Center project manager for land development. During lunch he stated explicitly that regardless of Sunday closing they would like to deal with only one municipality. Since, American Fork already serves the Dev Center and could readily provide sewer and water to the land being developed they are planning to ask for a boundary change so that all of their property resides in American Fork.

    Here is information from a draft version of a report done by Zion’s bank to estimate the impact of the Dev Center development on Highland’s general fund:
    • Fiscal impacts are positive over 20 years by over $1.2 million. However, the first four years of development are roughly breakeven
    • The last few years of the project timeframe studied (20 years) show net negative revenues. This is because inflation is projected to increase more quickly than an increase in revenue.
    • Sensitivity testing of Scenario 1 shows the following:
      • If grocery retail is not included, net revenues over 20 years are estimated at $127,000.
      • If grocery retail is included, but all other commercial is deleted, the net revenues are negative at ($712,905).
      • If residential and commercial are at full market value1 (as identified in the ZPFI study), then net revenues over 20 years increase to nearly $1.6 million.
    Mayor Thompson indicated that he had been given a deadline of August 10th to the Dev Center for an estimate of the revenue we could expect from them in terms of fee in lieu of taxes, since the state does not pay taxes on property it owns. Scott Smith stated that this was an arbitrary deadline.

    Note subsequent to the meeting we learned that the Dev Center is requesting a boundary change and that the legislature will make a determination in the 2018 session.

  • Library Open House: The library director said that a open house would be held for the leaders of both Alpine and Cedar Hills. She mentioned that any discussions about a tri-city library were very preliminary.


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