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Murray Journal

Vine Street rezone hearing rescheduled

Nov 29, 2016 11:47AM ● By Tyler Warren

The house on the property was in poor condition and torn down. (Tyler Warren/City Journals)

By Tyler Warren | [email protected]

Currently, the neighborhood is zoned as R-1-10, which has a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet. The amendment would change the zone to R-1-8, with a minimum lot size of 8,000 square feet. This would allow the property owner to subdivide the lot.

Councilman Blair Camp said that when he took a trip down to the property, he thought the decision was a “no brainer.”  

But a strong showing by concerned neighbors to the property made him think twice.

“I’m a little bit torn right now,” Camp said before the Council’s vote. “The points that have been raised tonight I don’t disagree with.”

Residents were concerned about the effects increased development would have on that section of Vine Street. They also questioned whether utilities would be able to handle this increased usage.

Lee Seagull lives a few blocks east of the property in question.  He took issue with the rising trend of development in Murray, flag lots in particular.

“I think this city has sold out to developers in multiple ways and I’m getting sick of seeing it,” Seagull said. “If I wanted to live like a sardine I would move to Sugarhouse.”

On Sept. 15, the Planning Commission voted 4-2 in favor of recommending the zone change to the Council. Their recommendation reasoned that the rezone was consistent with other uses in the area.

The neighborhood in question borders a medium-density zone with a wide variety of lots. Adam Nash, the developer and owner of the property, said that his company had done a study on the area and found it was almost completely developed.

The general area was developed years ago under zoning guidelines that are divergent from R-1-8 code. When Murray annexed the neighborhood, new zoning changes took place and the existing properties became legally non-compliant.

Then there was the property itself.

“The home… deserved to be torn down. It had been gutted and left ransacked. The property was just in terrible condition,” Nash said.

Some on the Council agreed with him.

“I don’t think this particular rezone has a huge impact,” Camp said.

Camp made a motion to pass the zone change, the motion died for lack of a second. Nash was left bewildered by the proceedings.

“I’m shocked that the city went against the recommendation of the staff. My guys were ready to break ground tomorrow,” Nash said.

“It was a split vote,” said Councilman Jim Brass about the Planning Commission’s recommendation. “In this case, there were two dissenting votes… and one of them lives in the area.”

But Nash wasn’t content to accept the outcome of the meeting. He took issue with the way the motion failed without a clear vote against.

“The Council can’t just ignore an applicant,” Nash said. “If I wasn’t a 35-year veteran in development I would have taken my lumps and left. But I know better.”

The Council is required by state law to provide reasonable diligence when reaching a decision on land use. City Attorney Frank Nakamura said that a motion with no second could be interpreted as no action.

“We need to provide a more definitive answer,” Nakumura said.

So the Council ruled 4-1 in favor of reviewing the application once more. The hearing was scheduled for the Dec. 6 Murray City Council meeting.