CEDAR CITY – The Cedar City Council voted in favor of a proposed zone change Wednesday that would allow developers to accommodate married student housing even after several residents previously spoke out against it.
The Council also discussed a zoning request on another piece of property that would change it from agricultural to high density residential.
Rezoning for married student housing
The Council’s approval changed a property previously zoned for commercial, industrial and medium density residential to high density residential.
The change allows for 80 multiple units to be built to accommodate married students attending Southern Utah University.
The property in question, located on the block of 1400 West and 500 North, is surrounded by both industrial and residential zones.
The Council voted 3-2 during its weekly meeting for the zone change with Councilmen Fred Rowley and Ron Adams casting the dissenting votes.
Rowley, who visited the site, said he felt the proposed zone change was inappropriate for the property that currently backs up to Interstate 15 and is surrounded with industrial complexes on two other sides.
“I had a friend who went to far more social events than I did and he had a phrase, ‘that’s like wearing brown shoes with a tuxedo,’” Rowley said, “and my feeling as I went through there is this thing has a freeway on one side and industrial on two sides. It’s a wonderful project but for me it’s just in the wrong place. It just does not fit. It’s just too industrialized.”
Rowley also had concerns about the narrow roads lining the front of the property that will be used to access the proposed housing development. Several surrounding residents expressed similar sentiments during last week’s public hearing, arguing that the increased traffic will create a safety issue.
“As I was coming up 1400 (West), a pickup was coming the other way,” Rowley said. “We actually had to jog a little bit to get past each other.”
Councilwoman Terri Hartley, who voted in favor of the zone change, said she thinks nearby residents would want a residential subdivision to go in there rather than an industrial complex.
Councilman Paul Cozzens said that while he understands the residents’ concerns he also believes strongly in private property rights.
“I just feel very strongly that when someone has paid property tax for years they have the right to do what they choose with their property,” Cozzens said.
“I’ve always felt that way and this is no different,” Cozzens added. “And this wasn’t easy for me as I have friends in that area but I have always tried to be consistent with my vote.”
Report continues below.
Proposed rezoning for multiunit housing
Following Wednesday’s meeting, the City Council held a work meeting during which members discussed another proposed zone change on property located at 4300 West off state Route 56 near the Lamplight subdivision.
The area is currently zoned residential agriculture and planned on the city’s land use map for medium density residential. The proposed change is for high density residential in order to build several fourplexes.
The Cedar City Planning Commission only had four members in attendance at the time the 4300 West property was discussed – they were split in their recommendation to the council with two opposed and two in favor.
Heath Overson with Go Civil Engineering said the property will be accessed via SR-56 with a brick wall surrounding the proposed subdivision. He assured council members he does not believe it will be an intrusion to the surrounding neighbors.
However, Brent Miller who lives near the property spoke out against the zone change during the public hearing. Miller also appeared before the planning commission to express his opposition.
“My concern all along is, if we are putting two-story apartment complexes in here my entire kitchen view will be a balcony with potentially four neighbors staring down into my yard,” Miller said. “I’m not really happy about that.”
Miller said he feels his property value will take a hit from the development.
“Even if that doesn’t transfer to paper, I think it (the proposed development) definitely kills the curb appeal,” Miller said.
He also told council members that he had spoken with several of his neighbors and while they are primarily all tenants renting their homes, they do not like the proposal either.
Derek McDonald, who owns the home next to Miller’s but currently rents it out, also spoke out in opposition to the development.
“I’m of the same position he (Miller) is,” McDonald said. “This is not downtown SUU. This is rural living way out west of town. We didn’t move out there, didn’t buy property out there, to have 28 units of housing right next to us.”
The City Council will discuss the issue further at its next meeting April 5 at 5:30 p.m. when they are likely to vote on the proposed change.
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