ST. GEORGE – The Washington County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to deny a controversial zone change request for property adjacent to Dammeron Valley.
The vote came at a regular commission meeting Tuesday that was attended by about 40 Dammeron Valley residents. The zone change was requested by The Dammeron Corporation for property west of state Route 18 and would have allowed construction of a new subdivision.
“It was turned down at the planning commission level and the county commission turned it down as well,” Commissioner Victor Iverson said, “based on a variety of concerns. One, a lack of a transportation plan, a lack of a wastewater sewage plan, a lack of water supply – whether or not it’s there – and also we have some drainage and flooding issues.”
Residents were allowed to address the commission about the zone change, even though it was not a public hearing. The planning commission unanimously recommended denying the application after a heated public hearing May 11 which filled the commission chamber to overflowing.
“I think it’s a very poor fit for Dammeron Valley,” one Dammeron Valley resident said about the proposed 127-acre development.
Several other residents spoke and expressed concerns about traffic flow, access to State Route 18, sewage, water pressure, storm water drainage , the loss of open space and the presence of an archeological site in the area proposed for development.
Iverson said that approving a zone change could create a sense of entitlement with the developer and make it hard to deny future approval from the county.
“I don’t mean any disrespect, but I think governing bodies do extend a certain amount of trust to developers when they bring in subdivisions,” Iverson said. It’s important that county officials have confidence that issues brought up by residents will be resolved before the development is allowed to proceed.
Current issues already experienced by residents of Dammeron Valley include water pressure and septic problems, Iverson said.
The Dammeron Valley was developed by the Dammeron Corporation, which applied for the contested zone change. For the subdivision to get approval, the company will need to come back with a more detailed plan that addresses the concerns of both the residents and county officials, Iverson said.
“Dammeron Valley will grow, but it’s important that it grow in a way that respects existing property owners.”
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