The Tooele City Council isn’t accepting or approving any multi-family residential zones for up to one year, following a policy approved at a special meeting Wednesday.
City Council Chairman Steve Pruden introduced the policy, which he described as a response to the recent “avalanche” of applications for multi-family rezones. According to the written policy prepared by city attorney Roger Baker, Tooele City has received many applications for multi-family housing in various areas ranging from R1-7 zones, with minimum lot sizes of 7,000 square feet, to RR-5 zones, with a minimum lot size of 5 acres.
City Councilman Scott Wardle said he wanted to wait for the study on the city’s infrastructure, including water, sewer and transportation, before approving more multi-family zone changes.
“One of the things that concerned me when I first ran back … a long time ago, was growth without planning,” Wardle said.
The sentiment was echoed by City Councilman Brad Pratt, who said the city needed to take a step back on multi-family rezones.
“I think we need to be very careful and not let development outrun services we can provide,” Pratt said.
Baker’s recommended policy language, read by Pruden, said questions were raised about the city infrastructure being able to meet the need of additional multi-family housing.
“Facing these questions, the City Council finds it prudent for the welfare of city residents to conclude its infrastructure modeling before approving any new multi-family projects,” the policy said.
The policy also emphasized it was not a moratorium and is not an attempt to slow growth and development. It will temporarily restrict approval of new rezone applications for the selected densities while the city completes its infrastructure analysis.
“Effective immediately, as of tonight, no new rezone applications to multi-family residential zoning districts for new multi-family residential projects will be accepted or approved for a period of up to 12 months to allow time for the analysis to be completed,” the policy said.
While applications for the affected rezones will not be considered under the temporary policy, any associated fees will be refunded if the application is withdrawn, according to the policy. Any other zone changes for different uses will still be considered and land use applications for subdivisions, site plans and other actions in existing zoning will be processed as normal.
When the City Council is prepared to lift its policy restriction multi-family rezones, it will be announced in a public meeting.
The policy was approved unanimously on a motion by City Councilwoman Melodi Gochis, seconded by Pratt.