Planning Commission Experience
MOTIVATION FOR RUNNING
I have watched as activities such as mining, blasting, rock crushing and gravel extraction have been permitted by our elected officials, even at the entrance to our beautiful city. I have wrestled with the types and location of developments permitted. I have wondered why our officials were approving such compact residential communities when Eagle Mountain has so much undeveloped open land. Part of the answer I found is that there were many vested or granted development rights extended to developers early in our cities history. Some of these rights are without any expiration date. These vested rights allow types and densities of development in areas where the city would not likely grant those rights today.
It is these experiences and others that have motivated me to action. I sought for an opportunity to participate as a citizen planner to see if I could have an impact in creating greater balance in the types and densities of developments to be approved in Eagle Mountain. As a result, I was appointed to the planning commission in 2018 where I presently serve.
Here is what I learned as a planning commissioner. Most development applications consisted of small lot or shared wall housing. The majority of the vested rights of previous applications allow for almost 30,000 units of these types, yet to be built. Although the commission and some members of city council have attempted to change the direction of this type of development, we consistently run into roadblocks at the city level and with developers.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS ON PLANNING COMMISION
As an Eagle Mountain City Planning Commissioner, I co-authored the new residential zone codes. One of the major benefits of this rewrite is greater widths of lots for houses, requiring a minimum 8ft and 10 ft distances to the property lines on either side of all single-family homes. This new code also increases the minimum front lot widths of all single-family homes. Previous versions of this code allowed as little as 40 ft. lot frontage. The smallest of these is now 58 ft. This revision allows homeowners additional space to park a trailer, car, or boat, and have access to the backyard.
This new code requires larger garages to be built in all residential construction. This standard applies to multi-family town homes and condominiums as well. I believe that 2 car garages should actually accommodate 2 cars. In the previous code garages designated as 2 cars were 20 ft in width and 20 feet in depth. Often the staircase would be found within this area and further reduce the utility of the garage floor space.
We’ve now added 2 extra feet to the width and require a total of 22 feet in depth starting at the end of the stairs. These changes allow our streets to be less congested with parked vehicles in new neighborhoods.
I reviewed, updated and improved the standards to our commercial zoning code. As a commission we’ve created 3 zones in a new business park zoning district. We worked to remove environmentally unsafe industry from the industrial zone and other non-residential zones.
Eagle Mountain writes more master development agreements than most other cities in Utah, however we did not have a Master development agreement code. Because of this, developers would dictate the terms of the agreement for our approval. This created a very lopsided agreement in favor of the developer. I co-authored a new code that addresses the terms and conditions under which a development agreement exists. The new code limits the time frame of the vested rights granted to developers to 6 years. Most importantly, the city now drafts the terms of the agreement rather than the developer.
I fought to impede the creation of a second gravel pit and mining operation on the south end of the city adjacent to BLM ground.
I encouraged and worked with citizens, conservation groups, city staff, local and state officials to create and recommend the adoption of the Eagle Mountain Wildlife Corridor, which is now in force.
I am a problem solver. I have encouraged the implementation of these policies, in spite of the limitations that apply to planning commissioners. Planning commissioners write land use policy and make recommendations to the city council. The city council is required to review the recommendation of the planning commission and accept, deny or alter it.
We need leaders that listen. We need leaders who stand up for the vision and community ideals that brought each of us to this high mountain desert valley. If this is the type of leader you are looking for, I respectfully ask for your voice, your vote and your support.