OGDEN — A city-granted special exception that will allow a Davis County developer to build a 186-unit housing complex near the mouth of Ogden Canyon is being appealed.

Last month, the Ogden City Planning Commission approved Chris Haertel's request to build a multifamily housing complex at 1770 Canyon Road. According to planning commission documents, the development will feature six buildings, 274 parking stalls, rock retaining walls on the east side of the project, 185 trees, a lawn area, and a child play area.

City zoning ordinances require that the planning commission review all residential projects on 12th Street, east of Adams Avenue, that have more than 30 dwelling units. Developments larger than that can be granted a "special exception" for construction if the planning commission determines that the project won't create traffic patterns, access issues, and parking areas that will negatively impact neighboring properties.

Residents living near the proposed development site filed a formal appeal after the planning commission granted the exception last month. 

In a letter to the Ogden City Council, Jordan and Kim Aaberg, who live near the proposed complex, detailed a number of concerns they have with the project. 

The Aabergs said a major concern for them — and residents in their neighborhood near Maxfield Drive and 9th Street — is indeed increased traffic.

"We are concerned with the increased number of families living in this area and Maxfield being the quickest route to Horace Mann Elementary School," the Aabergs said in the letter. "The road will not be able to handle the increased amount of traffic."

The Aabergs said that particular stretch of Maxfield Drive is narrow, and when cars are parked on both sides of the street there is usually enough room for just one car to pass through. The Aabergs also pointed to guidelines enumerated in the city-developed community plan for the area — which include preserving the single-family nature of the community, protecting the natural beauty of the nearby Ogden Canyon and Wasatch foothills, and maintaining easy access to recreational opportunities. 

According to the city's website, community plans, while not official mandate, “create a vision” for different sectors of the city, with input taken from residents, political leaders, developers, business owners and others. The plans tackle things like community facilities, neighborhood identities, economic development, environmental issues, housing, land-use and transportation.

In reviewing the proposal and speaking with constituents after the planning commission decision, Ogden Council Member Rich Hyer said the development gave him pause.

"I know it's not binding, but there were several things in (the community plan) that this development does not adhere to," Hyer said.

Ogden Planning Manager Greg Montgomery said the Utah Department of Transportation analyzed a traffic study on 12th Street in the area of the proposed project, determining the development would have no real impact there.

UDOT spokesman Zach Whitney said developers hire an independent engineering firm to conduct the traffic studies. When the study is complete, UDOT reviews the findings and based on those, makes recommendations to accommodate the additional expected traffic.

In this case, UDOT did recommend that the developer widen the road in that area to add turn lanes into the access point.

Montgomery said Ogden City engineers also determined the "200 to 300" cars that would come as a result of the development, wouldn't be an excessive increase in traffic in the area. He said that a host of other stipulations for the development — from landscaping features to the installation of seven-foot privacy walls — are required with the special exception.

Ogden City's Board of Zoning Adjustment — which hears appeals regarding the interpretation, application, or variance of land-use ordinances — will review the case on May 27.

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