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Zone change request for denser residential along Ski Hill Road; Downtown commercial zone change request for property north of Huntsman Springs

Zone change request for denser residential along Ski Hill Road
Ski Hill Road LLC requested a zone change for two lots in Aspen Meadows subdivision, which is located east of StoneRidge town homes along Skill Hill Road.  The subdivision, including the two lots in the application, is currently zoned Adr-0.5, Half Acre Average Density Residential, and the applicant was requesting R-1, Single and Two Family Residential, which translates into approximately 8 units per acre.

Neighbors of the property in question who spoke at the hearing said that they would like their properties to be included if there was going to be an up-zone to allow for increased density. The P&Z Commission in their deliberations recognized that this area would be appropriate for higher density and noted that the density recommended for this area in the Comp Plan is 3-4 units per acre, with a gradation from higher to lower density the further out from the city. However two of the commissioners were especially concerned about granting a spot zone for these two lots.  Instead they said they would prefer to look at changing the zone for the whole neighborhood, which would have to be noticed and heard at another meeting.  Therefore the commission voted 3-1 to deny the application.

Downtown Commercial zone request for property north of Huntsman Springs
Kerry Buxton of Bucks’ Investment LLC and Bob Bressler of B&B Venture LLC presented their application to rezone approximately 7 acres of property adjacent to Highway 33 in between the Driggs Centre development and Huntsman Springs.   This piece of property was annexed into the City of Driggs in April as part of a 20-acre parcel, which was subsequently split.  It was annexed into the city zoned as R-3 multi-family residential, although at the time of the annexation the city council expressed concern about the fact that the comprehensive plan envisions mixed use zoning for this area but at the time the mixed-use zone was not available.   The city is currently working on developing the mixed use zoning designation and expects it to be in place by January.  

The staff report from the city planner recommended denial of the zone change request saying “C2 (Downtown Commercial) zoning at this location is not in conformance with the Driggs Comprehensive Plan as it would not create a mixed use environment but would create an excessive amount of retail commercial zoning that is unnecessary at this time at this location.”

VARD spoke in opposition to the zone change out of a concern that it would undermine an economically vibrant downtown and would be out of step with the comprehensive plan.  The Driggs comprehensive plan states that commercial retail development should be concentrated in the downtown. The comp plan designates the area of the property in question as appropriate for mixed-use development with commercial uses that would be supported by neighborhood residents as opposed to commercial that would have pull customers from the region and off of Highway 33.

What came out of a good discussion between the commission and the applicants was that if they would come back with an application for a mixed-use zone they could likely get approval for the very uses for which they are requesting the commercial zone, namely a restaurant and chain hotel.  The city expects to have in place by January the mixed-use zone for this area, at which point the applicants could re-apply for the zone deemed appropriate in the comprehensive plan.  

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