Voters should support West layton Village Center

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 3:48 PM

Barry T. Flitton

I truly feel bad for the Layton city voters who are trying to educate themselves, by learning how they should vote on Propositions 2 and 3 regarding the West Layton Village.

I can clearly understand the confusion when the opposition has published such untruths and blatant misinformation as to why you should vote against.

Please allow me to quote from the "Argument Against" page of your "Voter Information Pamphlet" you received in the mail.

It states, "We strongly oppose this undefined, untested, loosely connected type of zoning." Let me respond to that. The form-based Code used in planning for the West Layton Village Center is very well-defined in a 71-page plan that for the past two years has been, and currently is, open and available for public scrutiny.

Its detail even requires the number of seconds for a pedestrian crosswalk. Form-based codes have been very well tested in many communities, wherein, a developer who commits to this zoning is required to adhere to an abundance of rules and guidelines to ensure that all criteria are met resulting in quality, desirable, walkable neighborhoods.

The "Argument Against" page says, "All citizens need to know that if the citizens vote AGAINST the West Layton Village Plan, against Propositions 2 and 3, the land will revert back to R-3 zoning, one-third acre lots, as it was originally." Please know that there is no R-3 zoning district in Layton for the land to revert back to.

This 107 acres owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was zoned agricultural until it was changed to VC in the city council meeting of April 5, 2012.

The "Argument Against" page also states, "By voting against propositions 2 and 3, we insure that, if it is developed, it will be developed as third-acre lots." Truth is, the only parties that could insure that this land will be developed into third-acre lots would be the land owner and the city through a zoning agreement, not by a group of special interest folks.

The "Argument Against" page states, "The citizens have had almost no input into this new, form-based plan."

The fact is, there have been 21 public meetings over the past two and a half years, wherein the public input has resulted in 16 significant changes to the original code, many of those changes reducing dramatically the number of apartment buildings allowed within the West Layton Village.

The "Argument Against" page states, "The Village Center will NOT be better for farms and farmers. It will make it nearly impossible for them to survive." The fact is that this zone change will do nothing to affect any farm except for this one single 107-acre farm that the property owner is asking to change to community uses.

The "Argument Against" page states, "If the Zoning changes are defeated, the zoning returns to 1/3 acre lots." This statement is not correct.

The fact is, PRI, a subsidiary of the LDS Church owns the land and they have made it very clear through a letter and statements to the public that either way this vote ends, they will not continue to farm the land.

If Village Center fails, because of the vote, then they will likely sell to a developer, who will then have the freedom to develop under guidelines of the 2001 General Plan which identifies this area for a commercial node with higher density/multifamily housing similar to what we currently have at Gentile Street and Fairfield Road.

The fact is, the Village Center zoning code that was passed by the city council on April 5, 2012 will absolutely produce a better format for quality neighborhood development with more stringent guidelines than has ever been used by Layton city.

This is precisely why, at the annual convention of the Utah Chapter of the American Planning Association, which was held on Oct. 4, Layton city received an Award of Merit for the Village Center form-based code for the West Layton Village Center.

This zoning is an example of how we can provide for much better planning going into the future, for the benefit of West Layton and all of Layton city. Please vote for Propositions 2 and 3.

Barry T. Flitton is a member of the Layton City Council.

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