LAYTON - A decision on a controversial rezone of a two-lot parcel on the city's south side will be made at the city council's first meeting in February, Mayor Bob Stevenson promised.
In his first official meeting as mayor, Stevenson and members of the council met with members of the city's Planning Commission in a work session to review a request to rezone .79 acres at 836 Angel Street. The rezone would change two parcels of property from residential suburban (RS) to professional office (PB) and pave the way for a local dentist to build a new facility on the combined lots.
The planning commission first reviewed the project and forwarded it to the council with a favorable recommendation in July. The council has tabled action on the item three times, the latest with a request it be reviewed again at a combined work meeting of the council and commission.
After an hour of discussion, it appeared little had changed on the matter. Commission members explained their reasoning, several saying they continued to believe they had made the appropriate decision, with several council members asking questions.
Planning Commission Chairman Gerald Gilbert defended the commission's original decision and said they thought they had a workable agreement on the rezone and a development plan for the property. "We feel like we have done what you've asked us to do," Gilbert said.
The meeting brought out a lively exchange between one commissioner and the council.
Commissioner Brian Bodily wondered why the council didn't simply say no at its last meeting in December if they were opposed to the project.
"If the answer is no, I don't understand why there wasn't an answer no. We've done what we've been asked to be done with this particular issue. I wasn't at the meeting but in reading the minutes my opinion is that is appeared a motion was made and died and nobody had the guts to make another motion. That's your job and nobody did it," Bodily said.
Councilman Scott Freitag, who pushed a motion for a combined meeting, following the non-vote up or down on the matter in December, defended his decision and said he was glad the matter was reviewed again.
Freitag said some council members are still gun shy following a citizen referendum in November of 2012, in which residents voted to negate city council action on a potential West Layton Village project.
"I needed to have you say again what you said tonight. It was necessary for us to have this conversation," Freitag said.
Much of the conversation centered on how city officials might handle potential rezone requests for corner lots that back onto collector streets in the future. Commissioner Timothy Pales suggested the council address the Angel Street rezone and then call a timeout and address the general questions, for possible changes in city code before another case comes up for review.
Neighbors have expressed numerous concerns about the project ranging from the potential size of a dental office on the two lots to the increased traffic flow on Angel Street and safe walking routes for school children.
Dr. Kyle Harmon, who hopes to build a new complex on the site, was also at the work session, but did not participate in the discussion. He said in a best case scenario his complex would be ready to open in two years. He said adjacent residential building projects, with new sidewalks, more children and established school walking routes, will have been in place before he ever opens his doors.
At the end of the session Stevenson offered to try and broker a compromise between concerned neighbors and property owner Ed Green before the Feb. 6 meeting.
"When this decision is over, I'm buying pizza," the mayor promised.