The Old Mill Village developers want the Heber City Council to approve a Master Development Agreement to create a high density, residential development in the southern outskirts of the city.
The applicants are proposing that 15% of the development are affordable units, with deed restrictions on the sale price and monthly rental costs. Heber City Planning Director Tony Kohler said the ordinance requires only 10% affordable units.
“The remaining 85% would be offered for sale or offered at 81 to 120% threshold. Following that initial sale, those units would not be deed restricted. They would be just whatever the market is. The applicants were saying, we're willing to hit that 81 to 120%.”
City Council did not adopt the MDA in the regular meeting, continuing it to the next council meeting in March. Several council members brought up issues with design features, deed restrictions, maintenance responsibilities, and right of way. Councilmember Heidi Franco said she is concerned about the Right of Way and how sidewalks are maintained, and park strips get measured as part of the open space equation.
“I’m not seeing where the maintenance is taken care of and I would prefer the wider road rather than 66- foot Road. I feel that the growth pressures in this area will necessitate the wider road in the future. And we will surely wish that we would have had the wider road and been able to put in the extra lane. So that's my two cents on it.”
Council members, including Mike Johnston and Heidi Franco, said they wanted more clarification on design features such as colors, window features, and architectural variations.
“There’s only four buildings. I think we can just identify how they're different. Or at least, two styles or two, color renditions.”
“Well, don’t we want to, for the town homes that will be so close together. We certainly don’t want all the same town home duplicated 100 times or so.”
“And make sure they’re not all brown, or cream, or grey."
That was Council Member Rachel Kahler. In a separate conversation with KPCW, she said her concerns about the development, in general, are the loss of commercial development potential and the proximity to downtown Heber. She said the area is currently zoned commercial, and the developers want an MDA rather than asking for a zone change.
"It's vital for a city to have sales tax revenue, and this is an area that I feel like in the future could be very healthy for our economy if it remains a commercial area. Kahler said the property owner and developer had brought the project to the City Council three times before and an essential component of the development is to complete Sawmill Boulevard.
"There are better places and better opportunities to work the affordable housing projects into our city. My other concern is it's too far away from the city center. The more that we allow for Multi-Plex development to build on our outskirts, the harder it is to redevelop downtown. So, I am just asking the Council to consider these things as we discuss the Old Mill Village."
Mike Johnston motioned to bring the MDA back to the Council for the next meeting, asking planning to clarify sidewalk Rights of Way's and how it impacts the developers' open space obligations.
"We want to vary the architectural exterior materials and colors. I'd like that in the MDA. I want to make sure we define this to prioritize the city employees for the affordable housing units. And I want a good commitment on getting the intersection built."
Heber City Council meets again on Tuesday, March 2.