LAYTON -- There are already too many apartment buildings in Layton.
That was the stance of several residents who strongly opposed two proposed new apartment complexes during Thursday's city council meeting. But despite listening to those concerns during a meeting that lasted more than three hours, city council members voted to rezone two areas and allow developers to proceed with their efforts to build the new complexes.
"You have to look at the property owners and how they have rights," said Councilwoman Joyce Brown.
One complex, set for vacant ground on the northwest corner of Hill Field Road and Antelope Drive, received the most opposition. After much discussion, the council voted 3-1 to adopt resolutions that approved a development agreement with Mountain States Property Management, approved the general plan amendment, and approved the rezone request for the area to make the space high density residential use.
Councilman Barry Flitton was the lone dissenting vote while Councilman Scott Freitag did not vote because he was serving as mayor pro tem in the absence of Mayor Steve Curtis, who was on vacation. Had the vote ended 2-2, Freitag would have cast the deciding vote.
"I feel like I've been educated and I don't think we should adopt these resolutions," Flitton told the council.
The second complex, Villas at Main at 1447 N. Main St., at the former home of Stimson's Market, also received criticism from neighbors. The council voted 4-0 to adopt ordinances that would approve the general plan amendment and approve the rezone request.
Some citizens opposing the complex at Hill Field Road and Antelope Drive said the area should be left zoned for business so new businesses could build there. However, property owners addressed that topic in the council's work meeting prior to the city council meeting.
"They've made efforts to put businesses there, but couldn't in the 13 years they've owned the property," Brown said.
One resident mentioned the death of 4-year-old Ethan Stacy, who died in 2010 in an apartment north of Layton Hills Mall with his mother and step-father being accused of his murder, and said Layton does not need more of those kind of events by people who live in apartments.
Paul Willie, of Mountain States Property Management, addressed that concern when he spoke following the citizen's comments.
"We can't classify all renters as bad people," Willie said. "We've all been there."
The developers -- Willie and Darren Child from Mountain States Property Management and Bryce Thurgood, who is developing Villas at Main -- said they would participate in a program where renters will be given a background check prior to being allowed to move in and will evict anyone who is arrested for a crime.
Although the council approved the ordinances, the members understood the concerns of the citizens.
Freitag said the top concerns were how the new complex would affect the traffic at Hill Field Road and Antelope Drive, and how new residents there would be informed about the underground water pollution in the area that is known as the Hill Air Force Base plume.
"The concerns raised by the citizens regarding the apartment complex near Hill Field Road and Antelope Drive are valid and not only valid but the developer needs to address those concerns," Freitag said.