Council approves plans for new and longstanding developments

St. George City as seen from the Dixie Rock/Sugarloaf formation at Pioneer Park, St. George, Utah, July 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE Three major real estate projects received varying degrees of approval toward beginning construction during the St. George City Council’s Thursday evening meeting.

Joule Plaza, the proposed mixed-use apartment building and shopping center, located between 200 West and 300 West south of Tabernacle Street, received approval for a conditional use permit for the planned 50-75 feet tall buildings. The council also approved the project’s redesigned conceptual site plan, which had previously been denied.

Additionally, residential and agricultural land was approved to be rezoned for commercial development projects after public hearings resulted in minimal pushback from attendant citizens.

Joule Plaza

The Joule Plaza development has been in the planning stages for several years by developer Dixie Sun Ventures. The project in downtown St. George calls for two buildings made up of studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom apartment units. The proposed plaza also includes several commercial units, allowing the mixed-use development to double as a shopping center.

A mock-up image shows conceptual site plans for Joule Plaza, a mixed-use apartment and commercial development in downtown St. George | Image courtesy of City of St. George

“This is the first project like this in the city … and so it’s been a difficult one to make it work for the applicants but if you look at the design, this comes right back to what we had talked about three years ago with regard to the idea of having a mixed use commercial project in our downtown,” City Manager Gary Esplin said.

The project has undergone multiple reviews over the years and appears closer than ever to becoming a reality.

“Personally, I think it will vastly improve that area that area of town … , council member Joe Bowcutt said, “I still have those mixed emotions about it but I think we’ve tried to come up with ideas that might be acceptable for everybody.”

Though the project’s permit and redesign was approved, one council member voted against it.

“I’m getting concerned about maybe we’ve gone – in our interest to try to keep the critical mass that we need to make a project like this work – that we’ve gone too big,” council member Jimmie Hughes, the lone holdout, said.

Mayor Jon Pike pointed out that given its locality next to the courthouse, its size impact would be mitigated.

A map shows the area of 550 East and 650 East River side Drive to be rezoned from residential to planned development commercial in St. George | Image courtesy of City of St. George

“This is part of growing up a little bit, part of ‘Vision Dixie’ in terms of trying to have a little bit more density especially in the central part of our town,” Pike said. “It’s part of ‘live, work, play’; these concepts that we’ve been talking about and trying to get to for some time. … I think it’s going to feel more natural than we think once, if approved, it’s all built and starts to come together.”

Commercial developments

A public hearing was held to discuss an ordinance to change the zoning of about 9 acres previously designated  residential to planned development commercial. The property is located at approximately 550 East and 650 East Riverside Drive.

Developer Riverfront Medical Holdings presented plans to build a medical office on the eastern half of the property to be built within a year. Plans for the western half of the area were not presented at the council meeting.

A few residents who live near the property commented on the change. A couple residents mentioned an adjacent irrigation ditch, looking to the city for assurance that it would be properly dealt with. Others also expressed their disfavor of the building’s proposed 35-42-foot height.

A mock-up image shows conceptual site plans for a commercial development located north of Mall Drive between the Virgin River and 3000 East in St. George | Image courtesy of City of St. George

However, no one present wholly disapproved of the project, and the council voted to approve the zone change.

A hearing was also held on an ordinance to change the zoning of approximately 19 acres located north of Mall Drive between the Virgin River and 3000 East. The property would be rezoned from agricultural to planned development commercial.

One resident rose to express his displeasure of the proximity of the property to his home and suggested a larger transition zone between the properties, but he was otherwise favorable toward the development.

The zone change was approved by the council, and developer Rosenberg Associates presented plans to construct multiple professional and medical offices on the property.

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1 Comment

  • utahdiablo March 3, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Good ol’ Boys at it again….the new city motto…anything for a Buck!

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