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Roy leaders debate development guidelines around FrontRunner station

By Tim Vandenack standard-Examiner - | Apr 7, 2021
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The FrontRunner station in Roy is pictured Wednesday, April 7, 2021.

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The FrontRunner station in Roy is pictured Wednesday, April 7, 2021.

ROY — After updating the city’s zoning guidelines to spur new development in the city center, Roy officials are turning their focus to the standards applicable around the FrontRunner station off 4000 South.

The efforts come as state lawmakers and Utah Transit Authority officials press for increased attention to development guidelines around FrontRunner stops along the Wasatch Front, partially in a bid to spur ridership. Some 50 or so acres of largely undeveloped land sits around Roy’s FrontRunner station, which will be the focus of the efforts of Mayor Bob Dandoy and the Roy City Council. Since the area abuts private homes, though, Dandoy suspects the debate may be even more complicated than the discussion over downtown development along 1900 West, drawing feedback from neighbors.

“This one’s going to be a little more difficult,” Dandoy said. With the UTA seeking guidelines that allow higher-density housing around its FrontRunner stations, he’s expecting “pushback” from some homeowners as officials seek out middle ground.

Image supplied, City of Roy

This image shows the area around Roy’s FrontRunner station, in orange and brown, that’s the focus of debate among city leaders over future development. The area in yellow is also focus of debate, which started in earnest at a City Council work session on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

The Roy City Council last month approved a pair of zoning changes allowing for mixed-use development along the 1900 West corridor between Riverdale Road and 6000 South, the city’s main commercial strip. Broadly, the change — meant to keep pace with evolving development trends — opens the way to development with both commercial and residential aspects, not just one or the other. It also allows for taller buildings, in some cases.

Now the focus turns to the guidelines that should apply to development on the largely vacant land around the FrontRunner rail line roughly from Hinckley Drive southwesterly past around 4400 South. That includes around 50 acres, some of it privately held and around 18 acres of it owned by the UTA. Moreover, city leaders will be zeroing in on the guidelines applicable to a more industrial area east of the FrontRunner station that’s centered roughly around 4000 South and 1900 West.

Officials in Ogden and Clearfield have also been debating the sort of development that should occur around the FrontRunner stations in those locales. Clearfield leaders, in fact, have drafted the rough outlines of a plan that calls for up to 600,000 square feet of office space, up to 67,500 square feet of commercial space and as many as 1,000 residential units around Clearfield Station there.

Dandoy expects increased pressure from state leaders for locales like Roy to craft plans around their FrontRunner stops. Legislation approved earlier this year appropriates some $200 million to lay double track along some segments of the FrontRunner corridor to speed travel times and encourage increased use of the commuter line. Parallel to that, Dandoy anticipates a push for allowances to permit more apartments and other higher-density housing around FrontRunner stations to create a pool of people more apt to use the train, thus bolstering ridership.

TIM VANDENACK, Standard-Examiner

The FrontRunner station in Roy is pictured Wednesday, April 7, 2021.

The $200 million, he said, is “a heck of an investment.”

Roy leaders launched debate in 2019 over development guidelines governing 1900 West in the city’s core and the land around the FrontRunner station, but last year decided to address each location separately. With approval on March 2 of the changes applicable to 1900 West in the city center, the Roy City Council on Tuesday held a work session to start the debate in earnest over what to do around the FrontRunner station. Dandoy hopes city leaders are able to formulate a plan before talks for the 2022 city budget start going in June.

More work sessions will be held and he also plans to seek input from the public.

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