With the end of a subdivision moratorium looming, the Grantsville City Council approved amendments to the city’s land use and development code during its meeting Wednesday night.
The changes to the subdivision portion of the land use and development code is the first part of an overhaul of the city’s general plan and zoning regulations. The 180-day moratorium enacted on Oct. 4 ended last week, compelling the city council to approve the changes.
Among the changes to the subdivision portion of the code was a reworking of the process the city requires developers to follow when seeking approval for a subdivision.
In the prior version of the land use and development code, a developer would be required to present to the planning commission and city council at three separate points — concept plan, preliminary plat and final plat.
Under the changes to the code approved Wednesday, the concept plan is no longer a required phase of the subdivision approval process. Specifically, the code says, “The Concept Plan shall not be required but is provided as an opportunity for the developer to discuss the desirability of a development concept and general applicability to the General Plan and the Grantsville Land Use Management and Development Code with city staff.”
The updated section on concept plans said developers can request the opportunity to present a concept plan to the planning commission or city council but discussions are non-binding and do not guarantee approval.
With the changes to the concept plan, the preliminary plat phase was also amended. In addition to adherence to city code and the general plan, preliminary plat reviews consider impact on utilities, infrastructure, services and the environment.
At this stage, the project is also reviewed for its contributions and benefits to the community. The maximum density and general layout of a development is now addressed in preliminary plat, as opposed to the concept plan phase.
Shay Stark of Aqua Engineering said the risk of skipping the non-mandatory concept plan is on the developer but allows developers who already know the process to skip a step if they feel comfortable doing so.
Grantsville City Planning and Zoning Commissioner Jaime Topham said concept plans should be exactly that — a concept.
“They shouldn’t have to invest thousands and thousands of dollars just to bring it in front of us to say, ‘Will you even think about approving this?’” Topham said.
The final plat phase of a subdivision remained almost entirely intact from the previous version of the code, with the inclusion of open space as land that should be accounted for in the final plat.
Another change is the creation of a development review committee, which will review all subdivision applications before they come in front of planning and zoning or the city council. The committee will include the city’s planner, zoning administrator, public works director, engineer, fire marshal, attorney and a planning commission representative.
The development review committee will have 14 days to review an application prior to a conference with the developer. A completed application will require approval of the review committee before it can be brought before the planning commission or city council.
A preliminary plat will be valid for six months but may only be granted up to two six-month extensions if “substantial progress” has been demonstrated by the applicant. In the previous code, the preliminary plat was good for up to one year following approval.
Councilman Tom Tripp suggested an expansion of the notification area of a new subdivision development, which had been listed at 300 feet from the property. The city council amended the notification distance to 500 feet during Wednesday’s meeting.
The changes to the subdivision portion of the land use and development code were approved unanimously Wednesday night on a motion from Tripp and seconded by Councilwoman Krista Sparks.