WASHINGTON CITY — The latest iteration of a proposed development for the Washington Fields area sporting multiple housing units and a patch of commercial space was brought before the City Council for consideration Wednesday.
The project also brought out area residents opposed to bringing commercial development into “the Fields.”
“There is absolutely no need for commercial,” one area resident told the council during a public hearing. “It’s not conducive to what is going on in this area.”
The development, called Heritage Place by developers, is proposed to be built on the field just south of Nisson Hill between 300 West and Washington Fields Drive. It’s the field that sits across the street from two of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapels on Washington Fields Road.
The 3.5-acre patch of commercial space is proposed for the corner of 2000 South and Washington Fields Road, according to the project’s site plan.
The project that was a topic of a public hearing at Wednesday’s council meeting and has gone through a number of revisions per the recommendations of the Planning Commission and City Council.
Prior versions of the project did not gain the favor of the commission or council due to particular issues they wanted to see addressed and rectified.
“We feel at this point we’ve done the best project we can,” Shaun Sullivan, of Sullivan Homes, told the council.
The original version of Heritage Place had proposed up to 184 housing units – spread across single-family homes, garden homes and townhouses – and 10 acres of commercial space. The high density, lack of amenities and other concerns led to the city’s Planning Commission voting 4-1 against the project with a recommendation the to City Council not to approve it.
The project was subject to a previous public hearing where area residents voiced their opposition and the City Council also turned down Heritage Place at the time. However, the council told the developers to make recommended changes and resubmit their plans.
The presentation given to the City Council Wednesday was met much more favorably by council members.
Changes made to the project include dropping five housing units, making the streets through the development public, adding additional open space and park area, a community pool, having homes set 35 feet from the main roads, and dropping the commercial area from around 10 acres to 3.5.
The general breakdown of the project includes 50 single-family homes, 33 garden homes and 95 townhouses. There will also be a trail system winding through the development that will take residents over to Nisson Hill, which developers plan to preserve, Sullivan said.
The estimated prices of the homes will be $250,000 for a townhouse, $300,000 for a garden home and $400,000-$500,000 for a single-family home, Sullivan said. The possible price of the units was given in response to some asking if the project had affordable housing.
The average price of a home in Washington City is around $324,000, City Manager Roger Carter said.
Short-term rentals are not planned for the development, Sullivan said.
The zone change being requested takes the current agricultural zoning to Planned Unit Development. That allows the city to have more of a say over what is allowed in the zoned area rather than regular zoning that allows for a permitted list of uses that do not need council approval.
The commercial area would be considered “commercial residential” as well, which prohibits particular uses not considered conducive to a largely residential area.
While area residents who spoke at the public hearing weren’t as vocal against the higher density of the development as they had previously been, opposition to the commercial portion of the project remained.
“We’ve been fighting this for 10 years,” Washington Fields resident Larry Jones said about commercial development in the area in general.
It feels like the city is shoving commercial down our throats, Jones said.
He also said he was worried about increased traffic on 2000 South, as it would make getting out of his subdivision a challenge, especially when trying to make a left turn.
“It’s all a bit frustrating,” Jones said.
Though council members thanked the developers for their willingness to adjust their plans and present a more favorable product, the zone request was not voted on at the time. That action will take place at the council’s Jan. 9 meeting.
In other business, the City Council approved the building of duplexes at the intersection of Washington Dam Road and Washington Fields Road. Residents at a prior public hearing opposed the move due to it bringing in higher density housing and impacting the character of the area.
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