Plans for a new downtown housing project will be moving forward following a unanimous vote by members of the Logan Municipal Council to rezone the area necessary to accommodate the high-density housing project featuring town homes and an apartment complex.
“I’m not a huge fan of density, but I am even less a fan of sprawl," said Council Member Herm Olsen. "And frankly, there are no other choices.”
The area rezoned during Tuesday’s meeting is north of 200 South between Main Street and 100 East. The previous zones in this area were Traditional Neighborhood Residential, NR-6, Town Center 1, TC-1, and Recreation, REC.
After the council’s vote, the REC area and part of the NR-6 area were zoned to TC-1. The rest of the NR-6 area was zone to MR-20, mixed-residential medium, with the exception of the church building on the southeast corner of the block, which maintained its NR-6 zoning.
Discussion regarding this rezone began over two years ago. Residents in the surrounding neighborhoods voiced opposition to the original proposal, and the concerns they shared led to changes in the project proposal and zoning request.
“I’ve really appreciated the neighborhood and every comment that they have made and every concern that they have shared,” said Chair Jeannie Simmonds. “I know that when we started this process, it was not a good project. It wasn’t neighborhood friendly.”
The council conducted a public hearing prior to the vote on Tuesday evening, where many neighborhood residents shared concerns they had about the rezone and current project design, urging Municipal Council members to vote against it.
“No one I know within the area wants those trees removed. Nobody wants park space gone,” Randy Penrod said.
However, a few community members spoke in favor of a rezone, supporting more downtown housing.
“Downtown is not as vibrant as it could be,” said Mark Lunt, owner of Cache Venue, which is near the rezoned area. “A vibrant downtown really turns into a cash register to pay for the government that we all utilize.”
Beyond the loss of green space, other concerns from those against the zone change included increased traffic and the lack of owner-occupied dwellings.
Some suggested the area for the townhomes be subdivided so those structures could be available for purchase.
Logan City Attorney Kymber Housley said the council members could request that the developer subdivide the property the townhomes were built on to facilitate owner-occupied dwellings, however, they could not require this. Language requesting subdivision was included in the council’s rezone vote.
Although the rezone has occurred, the developer still needs to acquire the city property previously zoned REC before the project can be built. Mayor Holly Daines said as this decision is being made, efforts will be made to maintain green space in the area.
These efforts include using proceeds from the property sale to add park space in a different area of the city and potentially requiring the developer to put additional green space with large trees on the north end of the project.
“While we are going to lose .4 acres of grass and some trees, we will gain trees and we will gain people in the neighborhood that might become our new friends," Simmonds said. "And they might be the people who will come and save us when something goes wrong.”