Washington City considers development in ‘the Fields’

The Washington City Council hears a city resident speak in opposition to the Heritage Place project set for Washington Fields, Washington City, Utah, Dec. 12, 2018 | Composite image, photo by Mori Kessler, development map courtesy of Washington City, St. George News

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.

A plan for the proposed Heritage Plan development in Washington Fields, Washington City, Utah | Image courtesy of Washington City, St. George News

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 field in Washington City where the proposed Heritage Place development would be located if approved by the Washington City Council, Washington City, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News

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 field in Washington City where the proposed Heritage Place development would be located if approved by the Washington City Council, Washington City, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News

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.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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4 Comments

  • Shorm December 14, 2018 at 5:51 am

    Sounds great to me!

  • tcrider December 14, 2018 at 7:31 am

    How about lowering the grade of Main Street instead ?
    Every year there are floods because there is nowhere
    for water to run because of older homes that are below the grade of main street and
    we are not just writing about the homes near the freeway, Just take a look at the miserable
    failure of Green Springs golf course that nobody wanted to subsidize in the first place and
    only a very small percentage of people will use. Washington city needs to get their priorities
    straight instead of trying to appease some money grubbing developer and city planners.

  • cv_t-bird December 14, 2018 at 9:45 am

    It’s pretty clear that the local residents do not want this development, I have been at the Planning Commission & City Council Meetings since it was first announced and the reaction has been strongly against. The developer is trying to find all the possible loopholes so they can fit as many people in this area as possible. There are a dozen other areas in Washington and St. George proper where this type of development is best suited, the “fields” (if you can even call it that anymore) is not one of them! This area is low-density residential, and adding townhomes completely undermines that. The developer has even stated that the main reason they are adding townhomes is because that’s how they will make the most money, yet they are neglecting the impact on the area and the longer term effects. There are multiple new high density developments within a few minutes drive (behind Smith’s and across from Maverick off Riverside Dr for example), so the excuse that this type of development is needed in the area is simply not true. And these units are not “affordable” by any means ($250k base price), so that argument is invalid as well.

  • tazzman December 14, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Another project trying to pack people in like sardines so we can maximize the tax base. Washington City: We want to be just like Phoenix!

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