OGDEN — Weber County commissioners have approved a controversial rezone in the Uintah Highlands area, paving the way for a planned housing development on a vacant piece of property that had served as a neighborhood park.
The rezone approved on Tuesday allows for denser development than allowable under the original zoning, at least 12,000 square feet per housing lot now versus 15,000 square feet under the prior guidelines. But that’s still not quite as dense as the 10,000-square-foot lot size minimum sought by the developer in a rezone request rejected by commissioners last January.
“The trend is for higher density,” Commissioner Gage Froerer, who favored the rezone, said after the 2-1 vote on the issue. He alluded to continuing growth and the need to make allowances for increased development to accommodate the housing needs of generations to come.
The decision approving the R-1-12 zoning means the developer will be able to develop 12 homes on the 4.6-acre parcel, up from the 10 or 11 that would be permitted under the original RE-15 zoning. That isn’t a huge bump up, but the plans, nevertheless, have generated backlash from many neighbors, who spoke out against the rezone prior to Tuesday’s action. And the turn of events underscores the development pressures occurring around Weber County as the population grows and the raw feelings that can result as new housing projects come online.
Much of the opposition from neighbors — who sounded off during a public hearing ahead of Tuesday’s vote — initially stemmed from the fact that they would lose use of the open piece of land, which has served as a park. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had owned the land, allowing the public to use it as open space, but sold it to Magna-based Moore Homes, the developer. Then the opposition seemed to focus on the rezone request, allowing Moore Homes and Randy Moore, the firm’s operator, to build more homes on the land than what’s allowed under the RE-15 guidelines.
“RE-15 has been the rule for all of these many existing homes and I see no reason that the rule should now be changed to accommodate a developer who would like to jam a couple more houses into this area. RE-15 also allows small farm animals, which many people have taken advantage of to raise chickens, giving the area a rural atmosphere. Zoning R-1-12 doesn’t allow for this,” Paul Kriekard, one of the neighbors opposed to the change, said in an email.
Camille Borklund, who also lives in the area, told commissioners that the issue was about respecting the desires of those already living in the neighborhood. The parcel in question is located at 6224 S. 2225 East in unincorporated Weber County, near South Ogden.
“It’s not about the park anymore. It’s about our community and somebody coming into our community and changing it just because they have money,” she said. “This is the third time, I think, that we’ve had this meeting and (Moore) has heard our opinions multiple times and how we feel about it and he keeps coming back with rezoning requests.”
Moore said the proposed development under R-1-12 guidelines fits the adjacent neighborhoods. The average lot size, he said, would be 14,200 square feet, though the guidelines allow for lots as small as 12,000 square feet, and the homes will likely be priced from $550,000 to $700,000. “This is very much in harmony with the existing lot sizes,” Moore said.
Commissioner Jim Harvey voted against the rezone, citing, in part, possible traffic issues related to the configuration of the new road leading into the development and neighborhood opposition. Commissioner Scott Jenkins was the other yes vote.