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Murray Journal

Neighborhoods Come First Before Commercial Rezones

Aug 03, 2016 08:35AM ● By Bryan Scott

The Murray City Council denied a rezone request that would have turned this residential property, located at the end of Lindon Street, into a commercial one. —Travis Barton

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

Murray, Utah - Neighborhoods are meant for families and not for businesses. That’s what the Murray City Council made clear on July 5.

With commercial ventures creeping towards residential zones, the Murray City Council passed a motion to deny an ordinance that would have amended the zoning map changing a residential property to commercial retail at 144 East 5600 South.

“We want to keep the neighborhoods in tact as best we can,” Councilman Jim Brass said.

The proposed rezone was for a daycare facility to expand. In order to do so they would need the land east, in the direction of the neighborhood, in order to have larger square footage for the building as well as the necessary parking.

Residents voiced their concerns about what that would mean for the neighborhood and the city council agreed.

Brass said by rezoning the area to commercial, there would be nothing to stop other types of businesses being built on the property in the future in case the daycare facility decided to move or went out of business.

Brass spent three years on the planning and zoning commission and quickly noticed things like that can occur.

“We’ll get applications for zone changes for businesses that don’t have them and something larger gets put on the property and if it’s up against a residential neighborhood, it impacts everybody,” Brass said.

Tim Tingey, Administrative and Development Services Director, said he was concerned about the encroachment on the neighborhood.

“It could be rezoned and then changed into a variety of different uses including gas stations, retail convenient stores, could be fast food stores, it could even be an auto repair shop in the future,” Tingey said.

Those involved who wanted the property rezoned were focused mainly on getting more parking for the area.

Boyd Viehweg, the project architect, said they didn’t know the city’s General Plan limited residential encroachment.

“We understand that goal and we agree with that goal,” Viehweg said.

Viehweg said what the actual zone is doesn’t matter to them.

“What we need is both zones to be the same so we can use the one spot for parking which is really what makes the difference,” Viehweg said.

Viehweg offered to have the zone where the existing daycare stands be rezoned to residential but only the proposed ordinance was under consideration for the night.

Karl Kitchin, the daycare property owner’s grandson, said they would pursue other options in the near future now that this ordinance was denied.

Neighbors shared concerns about a thru street being opened up connecting Lindon Street to 5600 South creating more traffic. They want to keep Lindon Street a dead end and would’ve been concerned about construction crews on a street where many kids live.

“I understand that [the property owners] want to expand parking but expanding parking is expanding commercial,” John Moran, a Lindon Street resident, said.

“We’re already one street over from State Street, it’s bad enough,” Kathy Fredrickson, another Lindon Street resident, said. Fredrickson said the property could still be turned into a home.

Kitchin said there was no intended business access from Lindon Street as the planning commission made clear it could not be turned into a thru street.

Brass said when proposed zone changes are received, they don’t look at what is planned to go on the property as much as what could be put there to ensure the neighborhood is safeguarded.

“We started looking very seriously at protecting our neighborhoods, our people are what make our city what it is,” Brass said.