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Mountain Shadows annexation; Village at Victor Mountain Retreat sketch plan review; Victory Ranch sketch plan review; sewer

Mountain Shadows Annexation
Val Kunz applied for annexation of approximately 58 acres on the west side of Victor.  The annexation will accommodate phase II of Mountain Shadows subdivision.  The land is adjacent to the city limits, has ready access to city services, and is appropriate for annexation, but given the massive accumulation of pending annexations the city has to be particularly careful about which annexations will help fulfill Victor’s citizens’ vision as state in the comprehensive plan. The annexation was approved unanimously, and the acreage was zoned R-1, the city’s least dense residential designation.

Village at Victor Mountain Retreat sketch plan review

Travis Thompson, developer and representative of RMV, LLC, presented for sketch plan review a preliminary plan for two major developments at the northwest corner of Victor’s city limits.  The first was “Village at Victor Mountain Retreat,” which will feature 69 lots and about 200 units on 40 acres.  Capitalizing on the city’s need for affordable housing, the developer requested an upzone for greater density in order to keep units in the $175k-$250k range. The county’s affordable housing study, conducted by BBC Research & Consulting, cited our county’s affordable housing niche at $130,000-$202,000.  Without deed restrictions, VARD wonders how these units will remain affordable in such a speculative market.

Victory Ranch sketch plan review
Mr. Thompson’s second application for the night was a 192-acre, 370 unit development called Victory Ranch.  This subdivision features a number of duplexes as well as 228 single-family homes.  Again the applicant cited affordable housing as a motivation for the high density.  He also offered acreage within the subdivision for a city sewer plant as well as acreage under conservation easement for discharge of clean, purified effluent.  While a sewer solution is a priority for the city, the proposed density at this location makes this development in direct conflict with the city’s comprehensive plan: “We value a vibrant downtown” that is “pedestrian friendly,” and “encourage attractive infill development…in established neighborhoods” (pages 7 & 12, Victor Comp Plan).  Furthermore, this development would violate every policy in the population section of the comp plan: “Provide the planning base for an anticipated population of 3,500 by the year 2020” (Victory Ranch, The Village, and Mountain Shadows alone would push the population to 3,000…), “encourage future high-density population to locate within the incorporated City,” (much of the acreage does not even lie within the Impact Area and will necessitate large scale annexation), and “locate future population into areas that support infill development and already have existing infrastructures in place” (page 25, comp plan).  This land is undeveloped farm land with a fence and a dirt road, hardly a site with existing infrastructure, and so distant from the existing down town that it would take an hour to walk from a house in Victory Ranch to the Post Office downtown. Maybe Victor residents have changed their vision of the type of growth they desire, but they must update their comprehensive plan to reflect such radically different values from those that they outlined in February of 2006.  Right now this development pattern is not supported by the city’s guiding documents.

Sewer
The city council is moving closer to making a decision on a sewer solution.  They should know next week whether the EPA’s permitting timeframe will allow them to build their own plant or require them to help upgrade the Driggs plant.  Numerous developers have left city hall frustrated because when they ask how to design their sewer pipes, the city cannot currently offer an answer due to the uncertainty as to the local vs. regional sewer treatment facility question.  If Victor builds its own plant, sewer lines will gravity-feed to Northwest of the city, but if the city helps to upgrade Driggs’ plant instead, lines will pump-feed into the trunk line running North along the highway.  Since the city doesn’t have an answer yet, any developer who goes ahead with utilities design is taking a risk that the design will be rendered obsolete.  As one councilmember pointed out, that’s the developer’s gamble.

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