OGDEN — Weber County commissioners have rebuffed a developer's request to rezone a parcel in the Uintah Highlands, yielding to the outcry of neighbors opposed to the change.
Randy Moore of Magna-based Moore Homes had sought the rezone to allow slightly denser development, 12 or 13 homes on the 4.6-acre parcel instead of the 10 homes the existing zoning would permit. But residents opposed railed against the request at a Dec. 10 planning commission meeting and again on Tuesday when it came up for consideration by county commissioners, leading to the no vote.
The clamoring underscores the tension that is becoming more and more commonplace as developers seek open spaces to build homes to accommodate growth and demand. The Uintah Highlands parcel, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is largely open and, in the absence of a nearby park, has served as green space for area residents in the crowded subdivision. Losing that park area figured in the opposition, along with worries about increased auto traffic and reduced privacy for adjacent homeowners.
Commissioner Jim Harvey voted no to the rezone on Tuesday as a show of solidarity with neighbors and the Western Weber Planning Commission, which recommended against the rezone in a 7-0 vote on Dec. 10. Commissioner Gage Froerer also voted no.
Commissioner Scott Jenkins voted in the minority in favor of the rezone, citing his belief in respecting the rights of property owners. He also noted the smaller size of the individual housing lots in the development per the rezone request, which he thinks will be the way to go moving forward to accommodate more affordable housing development.
With the rezone of the parcel, had he gotten it, Moore planned to build 12 or 13 homes. He's in the process of acquiring the land from the LDS Church and, per Tuesday's decision, said he'll now move ahead with the smaller development of 10 or so homes. The land sits southeast of South Ogden at 6224 S. 2225 East in unincorporated Weber County and the rezone Moore unsuccessfully sought would have allowed individual lots of 10,000 square feet, smaller than the existing 15,000-square-foot minimum.
"We believe it'll be a very nice area and a very nice development," Moore said afterward. Under the original 12- or 13-home development plans, he had envisioned homes in the $550,000 to $700,000 range, appealing to empty nesters, older buyers whose kids have grown up and moved out.
Despite Moore's plans to move forward, James Beck, one of the area residents opposed to the rezone, holds out hope the area in question can be retained for green space. He expressed hope that only being able to build around 10 homes, not 12 or 13 as envisioned, the project would be less profitable, scuttling the land deal.
Weber County commissioners had investigated acquiring the land to create park space for the neighborhood, but the cost would have been too high.