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Victor P&Z recommends for approval Black Hawk Estates

The Planning and Zoning commission continued from the last P&Z meeting their deliberation on the preliminary plat for Black Hawk Estates. The Black Hawk Estates proposal is for a 70-lot subdivision on 40 acres at the corner of 200 West and 950 South.  The development design reflects a traditional downtown grid system with lots ranging from 0.3-0.49 acres.  Note, however that this development is over two miles from downtown Victor.  VARD is concerned about the density and design of this development at this location, which is still predominately rural in character. At last week’s hearing, the P&Z made a motion to table the development so that they could further review the park requirements, lighting, bike lanes and additional mitigation for properties to the east.

Because this was a continuation, there was no opportunity for public input. Three of the five P&Z members were present. One of the P&Z members expressed concern over the proposed road that would run along the eastern side of the subdivision. Her main concerns were that the lighting on the road (175 West, to be called Broadway) would be intrusive and also that 940 South would basically run straight into an adjacent property owner’s yard.  She made the point that all roads in Canyon Springs subdivision were interior to the development. After some discussion, the P&Z agreed to require that Broadway be moved 125 feet to the west, making all roads internal to the development.

On the other issues raised in public comment last week and by the planning administrator and city planner, the P&Z declined to act:
-The P&Z found that a request for fencing on the eastern border of the property as a buffer for adjacent landowners would not be in accordance with the codes.  However no other screening methods such as vegetation or berming were discussed.  
-Although the developer had offered to do dust abatement at the last meeting, the P&Z failed to take up the offer, one member saying that such a requirement on a county road would be “onerous.”
-The P&Z also declined to act on the recommendation of the administrator to require an additional park element of either “restrooms, an athletic field, trails, hard surface multiple use court (tennis or basketball courts), or gardens that demonstrate conservation principles.”
-Both the city administrator and planner discussed the difficulty of dealing with such a highly gridded subdivision at the edge of city, agreeing that it was less than optimum and encouraging the P&Z to take steps to mitigate the negative ramifications of such a subdivision in this location.

The P&Z recommended for approval the subdivision by a two to one vote, contingent upon Broadway/175 West being moved 125 feet west and accepting $15,000 in lieu of the development providing the parks acreage required by the subdivision ordinance.

This decision points to the problems with Victor’s annexation policy, which has extended city limits in long tendrils out into land that is rural in character.  Now the city is in a quandary. When developments like Black Hawk are proposed, the decision-makers often comment, as they did in this case, on how the design and density do not seem appropriate, but because the area has been annexed into the city they are hesitant to ask for densities below what is allowed in city zoning.    The perceived need for sewer hook-ups is also driving this high density.  The city wants to fund a new sewer system through hook-up fees and therefore seems willing to grant a developer a high density if the development is going to be on city sewer.  However, as VARD has commented frequently, the sewer is only one issue facing the city.  Each development must be considered with a comprehensive view that also takes into consideration impacts to the roads, schools, traffic, natural resources, community character and the city’s vision for downtown, to name a few.  

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