Once-controversial zone change passes; city ready for flooding

Washington City Council, Washington, Utah, April 10, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY – The Washington City Council approved a zone change for a 2-acre parcel of land in Washington Fields that initially drew ire from area residents. But in the end, it was passed Wednesday night without out any objection.

At approximately 600 East 2100 South in Washington Fields by the Nichols Park subdivision, the zoning was changed from a low-density residential zone to an administrative professional commercial zone. The zone change will allow for the building of a funeral home next to the subdivision that will be separated by a wall.

The Washington City Planning Commission had originally recommended to the city council not to approve the zoning change over concerns of increased traffic through a residential area. However, in a 3-2 vote, the city council voted to move the issue forward  in its July 18 meeting. 

Residents of Nichols Peak were present at the July 18 meeting to voice their concerns about added traffic and their property values being negatively affected. One resident also told the city council that a business inside a residential area didn’t make any sense.

As for the funeral home, a representative for the applicant said the building would be built to resemble a home and traffic wouldn’t be as bad as area residents feared.

In a following city council meeting on Aug. 28, an issue of access to the property was also addressed. Instead of any traffic to the funeral home going though a neighborhood, the road will be extended from 600 East. Only one home on 600 East will be affected versus multiple homes set along a potential access route.

Just one individual showed up at the Aug. 28 meeting to protest the zone change. The zone change was ultimately tabled due to a further concern, that being the exact location of the 2-acre parcel in relation to a proposed cul-de-sac that would be at the end of Kay’s Circle, the street that could otherwise have served as the access route into the funeral home. Due to confusion over the properties bleeding into each other, a vote was tabled until the matter was solved.

The location of the property eventually became a nonissue, and the zone change was approved in a 4-1 vote on Wednesday. No one appeared to oppose the action during the public hearing portion of the meeting.

Councilman Bill Hudson was the only one to vote against the zone change. Following the meeting he said he felt the area should remain residential. What happens if in five to 10 years from now the funeral home is sold and the spot is changed into offices or some other commercial venture? he said.

Opening up a little commercial area in that part of Washington Fields could have a potentially negative domino affect, he said.

We need to be very careful of mixing zones.” Hudson said.

The future of the Washington Fields area has been a recurring theme in city council meetings as questions over what kind of development should be allowed there regularly pop up. Some council members have indicated they will be looking more closely at the matter in the near future due to the regularity of questions and debate surrounding it.

Other business

With the recent heavy rains, the council asked City Manager Roger Carter how the city is faring flood-wise. In recent months rainfall has led to flash flooding in the downtown area.

Carter said the downtown area is holding up well and not flooding; however, parts of Washington Fields, namely the areas of Stonehedge and Treasure Valley, have been heavily saturated by the rain and are being closely monitored by city officials.

It seems nature is “spreading the joy around,” Carter said.

Councilman Jeff Turek said the city is prepared for any new flooding. Part of the preparation includes thousands of sandbags and the sand to fill them – just in case.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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4 Comments

  • philiplo September 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    City ready for flooding? That’s setting the bar low. Perhaps you meant, “City Ready to Handle Excessive Rainfall?” Or “Flood Abatement Measures Taken?”

    • Katelyn September 13, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Philiplo,
      Why is it that most your comments are always negative? I guess some people just always look for things to criticize. I hope you have a good night. 🙂

  • Sgnative September 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I noticed a Washington city truck checking on the water basin that was flash flooding below our subdivision where new homes have gone in. Lets just say I’m glad I live up higher than them and that they have access to those sandbags should the berm fail…

  • Sgnative September 13, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Well I feel stupid. I just found our basement flooding from all the rain. Maybe our house is the catch all to keep the houses below safe. Your welcome?

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