SOUTH WEBER — Plans for a proposed multi-use development in South Weber may comply with the city’s zoning guidelines.
Even so, many are leery of the proposal — uncomfortable with a high-density development in their midst and the traffic they worry it’ll bring to the largely residential area — and are clamoring against it. Plans put forward by the developer, Deer Run Investments, call for 74 residential units and some 27,000 square feet of commercial space spread on an undeveloped parcel of about three acres near the U.S. 89 corridor.
If the opponents can find a legal loophole to stall it, “we’ll take it,” said Corinne Johnson, who leads a group called South Weber Citizens United that’s taking aim at the proposal, called Lofts at Deer Run. Short of that, they plan to scrutinize every aspect of the proposal, in the 7800 South block of 2700 East, and insist that it meet every spec outlined in the city’s zoning rules, without exception.
More immediately, Johnson and other foes held a protest on Tuesday, parking their cars outside the development site along 2700 East, aiming to show the congestion they fear will result as residents of the planned development seek space to park. 2700 East is a frontage road to U.S. 89 and organizers estimate 120 cars were parked on both sides of the two-way roadway as part of Tuesday’s demonstration, dubbed a “park-in protest,” narrowing it considerably.
“What we have is a high-density development in the middle of a residential neighborhood and it’s a safety issue,” said Paul Sturm, another South Weber resident opposed to the plans.
He and Johnson worry the planned buildings, when built, will hinder sight lines, making it tougher for motorists to negotiate the area and more dangerous for the kids and others who use the sidewalk along 2700 East. They also say the mix of apartments or condominiums and commercial development don’t fit with the adjacent neighborhood, which consists largely of single-family homes.
Even Mayor Jo Sjoblom attended Tuesday’s demonstration. City leaders, she said, intend to exercise “diligent vigilance” as they scrutinize the plans going forward.
“We’re all trying to make the best of the situation,” she said. “We’re going to do our best to make it palatable for the community.”
City Manager Dave Larson said earlier Tuesday that city officials rezoned the land where the development would take shape in 2017, paving the way for the plans. As he described it, city leaders had little leeway to stall the proposal when it came before them earlier this summer, as it complied with the zoning guidelines.
“We can’t change what’s allowed there. But we can scrutinize the plans once they’re submitted,” Larson said. Though preliminary plans have been submitted, city officials have yet to get a final proposal.
Johnson, meantime, charges that city leaders “didn’t do their due diligence” before letting the project move forward.
A representative from the developer, Deer Run Investments, according to city paperwork, couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
The plans call for four three-story structures housing the living units and commercial space, according to Sturm. The number of parking spaces in the development would total 164, he said, with one each, or 74 in all, earmarked for the living units and the rest open to visitors to the proposed commercial locales or local residents.