OGDEN -- An increasingly busy 20th Street and the need to fix it has required the builder of a town home development in Ogden to change course midway through the project.
The Ogden City Council voted Tuesday night to amend the city's mixed-use zone to allow a set of town homes being built on 20th Street to face away from the street, something that has not been previously allowed.
Blaine Walker, the developer of the South River town homes project, submitted the request to amend the city's zoning ordinance to allow the town homes -- located along the north side of 20th Street between Washington Boulevard and Grant Avenue -- to face inward toward a common open-space area rather than fronting directly onto 20th Street.
The move became necessary when the city's engineering department indicated that the entire width of the existing right of way along 20th Street would be needed to accommodate future traffic demands.
City Engineer Justin Anderson said the Wasatch Front Regional Council has identified 20th Street for road improvements sometime before 2020.
The road already has a daily traffic count of 9,200, and with regular population growth and multiple sections of the street slated for new development, those numbers will increase quickly, Anderson said.
Anderson said there are already traffic-related problems on the road at the intersections of Wall and Grant avenues and that widening the road to install turn lanes would allow for a continuous flow of traffic and would also allow the city to keep on-street parking.
Ogden City Planning Manager Greg Montgomery said that with a wider street, the town homes as they were previously designed, would have faced directly onto a wider, busier road with little or no buffer between the roadway and the front entrances of the homes.
And as the development is already under way, revising the site plan to push the units to the north to maintain the street frontage was not possible.
Montgomery said the amendment has been proposed as a way to continue with the development of the project and to maintain the number of units approved with the initial site plan and development agreement.
Walker told the council he's happy with the decision and thinks the zoning change will help make the homes more marketable.
As part of Ogden's Riverbend project, Bluffdale-based South River LLC is building 69 town homes, 125 apartments and up to 25,000 square feet of retail and commercial uses on 6.2 acres in the 60-acre Ogden River redevelopment area.