ST. GEORGE — A push to create future commercial design guidelines for a part of Washington Fields moved forward Wednesday with the Washington City Council’s approving to meet with design consultants next month.
The process to create and adopt a design standard for commercial development has been in the works for the majority of the Washington Fields area since 2019.
The project was delayed due to the pandemic and has since been reduced in scope to the properties surrounding the intersection of 3650 South and Washington Fields Road.
“We’ve talked at length about design guidelines for the Washington Fields area,” Washington City Manager Jeremy Redd said during Wednesday’s council meeting.
A reason for the guidelines is to provide a uniform, yet aesthetically pleasing design standard that both area stakeholders and city officials can agree moving forward.
For a time, some council members didn’t want to approve new commercial development in the fields area until the sought after design standards had finally been presented and approved.
Wednesday’s vote, which was unanimous among the council, clears the way for preliminary work to begin.
Starting in November, consultants from the Barnes Gibson Partners architecture firm will meet with the city council, members of the city staff and community stakeholders to discuss what the commercial architecture of the targeted area should look like.
Following their visits, the consultants will return to their offices and create a plan that can by used in communicating the city’s design vision to future commercial developers.
“I’m a real big proponent of keeping our heritage alive,” Washington City Mayor Ken Neilson told St. George News during a call Friday.
“Whatever that may mean to anybody else, to me it it means we keep our fields looking like the fields where there’s commercial property… It may be a western look, it may be a contemporary look, but it needs to reflect on the a little bit on our heritage and on our progressive nature in Washington City.”
City Council member Kurt Ivie shared a similar opinion during Wednesday’s meeting, as well as the desire to have more citizen involvement so the public would “buy-in” to the new design guidelines when they rolled out.
Ivie also said he wanted to hear from Council members Doug Ward and Kress Staheli who were absent at the meeting before moving too far with anything. Council member Craig Coats disagreed.
“I think we’re already behind in my opinion,” Coats said. “We need to get moving and then get the council involved with that as well.”
The preliminary steps toward design standards for the 3650 South-Washington Fields Road area are estimated to cost the city $25,600.
Once adopted, the design standards will primarily impact the designated area, though is expected to have some impact beyond that, Redd said.
Moving ahead, other areas of future commercial development may have their own design guidelines depending on the nature of the area, Neilson said. For example, the guidelines for a downtown commercial development will likely have be different from those used for commercial development next to the St. George Regional Airport, he said.
No time table was given on when the new architecture guidelines are expected to be produced.
In other council business Wednesday, the mayor declared October to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The council also approved a citywide upgrade related to water metering.
The city will be moving to what is called AMI, or Advanced Metering Infrastructure, which according to a city document, “has proven to be a very effective means of conserving water due to the fact that meters are read more frequently which allows for notice to be given of potential leaks and provides the customer with readily available records of their water use.”
Under the currently metering system, city staff collect data on a monthly basis. Water use data is also not readily available for water users to check on their own.
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