After nine months of work by a consultant, along with several town hall meetings and hearings to gather input from citizens, Grantsville City Hall now has to choose whether or not to approve a new general plan to help guide the community with future land use decisions for the next 10 years.
Because of a moderate income housing component now required by the state of all current or new general plans, the Grantsville City Council must approve the document on or before Dec. 1.
That date is more than three months away. But comments made during last week’s City Council meeting suggest the City may need lots of time to finalize the plan that is intended to advise on new zoning, revising existing zoning, or other ordinances, and provide direction and goals for land use, community design, economic development, transportation, housing, recreation, open space and infrastructure.
As reported in last Thursday’s edition, the draft 58-page, $66,000 document, which has been in the works since last November, is now under review by the Grantsville City Planning Commission and City Council. The Wasatch Front Regional Council provided a $60,000 grant for the plan with the rest paid for by City Hall.
At last Wednesday’s City Council meeting, the council and Mayor Brent Marshall spent several minutes discussing the draft plan and pointed out concerns. Marshall said the plan has Main Street turning into “a long apartment row, ” and Councilman Scott Stice said the plan looks like a compilation of citizens’ comments.
“We (the City Council) will have to figure out how to put the pieces together,” Stice said to the consultant. “… Your organization is getting paid a lot of money. Seems to me the plan should be more tight. I’d like to see it more precise.”
Councilman Jeff Hutchins said the draft plan includes suggestions that conflict with citizen feedback he’s received. He said, “people want more places to eat, but they also want to stop growth.”
Ben Levinger of Rural Community Consultants, Springville, told the City Council that citizens who provided feedback said they didn’t want high-density housing scattered throughout the community, and they wanted Main Street preserved for commercial use. Levinger also said the general plan is a guiding document, not a strategic plan that provides specifics of “who, what, when, where and how.”
Although general plans for municipalities and counties in Utah are considered to be an advisory document, the Legislature does give such plans some teeth. In section 10-9a-406 of Utah Code, it states, “After the legislative body has adopted a general plan, no street, park, or other public way, ground, place, or space, no publicly owned building or structure, and no public utility, whether publicly or privately owned, may be constructed or authorized until and unless it conforms to the current general plan.”
The planning commission and City Council are urged to carefully further refine the draft general plan — but without ignoring invaluable citizen input gathered since last November — to make the document effective in responding to future growth, while also being respectful of Grantsville’s values. By doing so, no one will have to “figure out how to put the pieces together.”