Springdale considers scrapping development incentives to preserve ‘village atmosphere’

SPRINGDALE — The Springdale Town Council is considering scrapping some, or all, of the town’s current development incentives in order to preserve a “village atmosphere.” 

A proposed ordinance revision recommending the removal was brought before the council by the town’s planning commission at a Town Council meeting Wednesday. 

The proposed revision would eliminate all the development incentives the town currently offers to builders to encourage them to provide a community benefit as part of their building plans. 

Springdale currently allows builders an exception to the town’s policies on building size and height, increased density, reduced setbacks or reduced amounts of required landscaping in exchange for also building something that benefits the community, such as employee or affordable housing, locating the building farther from state Route 9 or providing public parking or restrooms. 

The planning commission proposed that the town do away with the incentives program altogether and instead implement standard regulations for all developers.

Commission members say the larger, taller buildings allowed by the incentives do not promote village scale and the amenities offered by builders in order to qualify for an incentive are not proportional to what the town is offering in return.

The Springdale Town Council conducts a meeting, Springdale, Utah, July 10, 2019 | Photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

“The majority of the planning commissioners felt that as constituted in the ordinance, incentives are not appropriate. And in order to promote village scale, they would prefer to have development standards that are the standard for everyone across the board and not have the ability to have this modified in some way in exchange for providing a community benefit,” said Thomas Dansie, director of community development. 

Planning Commissioner Tyler Young was the only person on the commission to disagree with the proposed ordinance revision. 

“I think just by removing development incentives wholly from the code the way this is suggesting, all it does is take away flexibility from the council and the town to get things that it wants,” Young said. 

The council members were hesitant to pass the ordinance revision, saying they would prefer to address each incentive individually to decide whether they have been useful and if they should keep or eliminate them, agreeing that some of the incentives need to be removed. 

The council moved to postpone discussion on the revision to a work meeting at a date to be decided this month to go over each incentive. 

The work meeting will be open to the public, after which comments may be made either by email, in person or at the next council meeting on Aug. 14, at which time the council hopes to vote on the matter.

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Twitter: @STGnews | @MikaylaShoup

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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