A rezone for 16.4 acres of rural property along West Utah Avenue to R1-7 zoning was unanimously denied by the Tooele City Council during its meeting Wednesday night.
The rezone had been forwarded to the City Council with a negative recommendation from the Tooele City Planning Commission at its meeting last Wednesday.
In a public hearing preceding the City Council’s deciding vote, several residents spoke out against the rezone, which would have permitted 7,000-square-foot minimum lots instead of 1 acre minimum lots. The RR-1 zone also permits large animals, which the R1-7 designation does not.
Angela Hill said she had concerns about infrastructure, including adding so many homes near Northlake Elementary School, adjacent to the intersection of Coleman Street and Utah Avenue. Like others speaking at Wednesday’s meeting, she also had concerns about rezoning property with the rural designation.
“They talk about affordable housing that’s needed in the city limits. I agree with that. I agree that it’s going to grow,” Hill said. “But don’t take away the RR-1 that we have so little of.”
Hill’s sentiment was echoed by Mike Leonelli in his comments during the public hearing.
“The unfortunate thing is you’re reaching into a part of town that is dwindling, the RR-1 property,” Leonelli said. “We need to retain something.”
The property considered for the rezone is surrounded on all four sides by RR-1. A previous attempt to rezone the property to medium density residential received a negative recommendation from the planning commission in March.
During last Wednesday’s meeting, the planning commission voted for a negative recommendation by a 6-1 vote, with Commissioner Phil Montano the lone dissenting vote.
Prior to his vote to deny the rezone, Councilman Brad Pratt said he had seen a number of farms and rural areas in the city be replaced by single-family housing over the years.
“But again, I think that needs to grow from the inside out, and not from the outside in. So therefore, Council, I’m against rezoning this to an R1-7 situation,” Pratt said. “ I think for now the best purpose is to leave it where it’s at.”
Councilman Scott Wardle agreed with councilmembers in their opposition to a rezone to the R1-7 designation.
“We can’t guarantee what another council will do in 20 years or 15 years,” Wardle said. “But for right now, I would agree with the council on this and that is that this is not the time nor the place, nor the type of rezone that should be thrust on this area.”
The City Council voted unanimously to deny the rezone on a motion by Pratt, seconded by Councilman Dave McCall. Council Chairman Steve Pruden was absent from the meeting.