Changes could be coming to Grantsville City’s definition of, and requirements for, open space in its land use code.
During its Sept. 5 meeting, the Grantsville City Council discussed proposed changes to the land use code, which were recommended for approval by the city’s planning commission at its Aug. 29 meeting.
Part of the changes involve cleaning up the language around open space, and creating a new designation for “open space, improved.” The previous open space definition was a paragraph, the proposed definition is a single sentence.
The proposed open space definition is “Land used for recreation, agriculture, resource protection, amenity, historical preservation, or buffers, and is protected by the provisions of this Code to ensure that it remains in such uses.”
Improved open space is defined as park area improved as part of a residential development, with examples given such as ball fields, improved trails, landscape areas and multi-purpose courts.
Grantsville City Planning Commission Chairwoman Jaime Topham said the new definition of open space is more narrow and reduces confusion, during the city council meeting Wednesday.
The proposed land use code changes also requires a subdivision or site plan to provide 15 percent of the total parcel acreage as open space. The open space would be designated during the preliminary plat or site plan.
The proposed code change would also give the city discretion to accept the dedication of public parks of 5 acres or larger, as part of the subdivision. The city could also accept payment in lieu of the 15 percent of total acreage, which would be used toward the purchase of a different parcel to create a park or improve existing parks or trails.
Another change that caught the attention of Councilman Tom Tripp and other councilmembers was the elimination of a required public hearing for general plan amendments, subdivisions and zoning changes.
Topham said the change is intended to draw more people to a single public hearing, so the planning commission can gather all public input prior to making their recommendation to the city council. The planning commission makes recommendations based on whether a project conforms with the city’s code but the city council has more discretion when it votes to approve or deny an application.
Topham said the planning commission and city council sometimes hear different comments from the public, which can impact the decisions either group makes.
“We want the public to be heard,” Topham said. “We want the public to be involved … Having one public meeting instead of two will help clarify things and not create confusion.”
The land use code changes also propose increasing the notification area around a property prior to a public hearing to 500 feet, from 300 feet.
The proposed changes to the land use code cover dozens of pages and Grantsville City Mayor Brent Marshall suggested the city council table a decision to give more time for review. In a motion to table by Tripp, the council also set a work meeting to ask any questions or make any recommendations to the land use code changes at 6 p.m. on Sept. 19, before its regular meeting.