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Wasatch County

After View hotel approval, new rule will limit heights of Heber buildings

the view overhead.jpg
Credit Heber City
A design for the recently approved View on Main project shows the layout for five-story buildings to accommodate hotel guests and full-time residents.

For the next 6 months, all new building designs in Heber City must be capped at three stories. The city council indicated that could become a permanent limit soon.

Through next fall, buildings more than 46 feet, or three stories, in height won’t comply with Heber City rules.

That’s according to an ordinance the city council approved last week on Tuesday.

In commercial and mixed-use commercial zones downtown, the former maximums were four and five stories.

Council members first proposed the idea of a height cap in April, shortly after the planning commission approved a five-story hotel and resort to be built near Wasatch High School.

Throughout the approval process for The View on Main, members of the public voiced displeasure at the plans, which will build the new tallest buildings in Heber City. Several city council and planning commission members agreed with those complaints but said because the designs fit city code, there was no stopping the project.

The measure allows the city to put a temporary rule in place while it develops a permanent policy that must go through a longer approval process.

“You do have the ability to pass a temporary zoning regulation up to 6 months,” City Planner Tony Kohler said. “That essentially gives the city more time - 6 months - to determine what the permanent regulations would be.”

As he explained, using the temporary rule to take action before completing a full process for passing a permanent rule is familiar territory for the city.

“We’ve done this several times,” he added. “We’ve done this for storage sheds, downtown development a couple times, I think storage sheds a couple of times.”

The council voted 4 to 1 to approve the temporary ordinance. Mike Johnston was the lone no vote. He told KPCW “limiting commercial development to three stories max is a knee-jerk reaction based only on emotions, and does not follow our general plan recommendations for our downtown.”

In the meantime, Kohler said city staff would come up with more permanent rules that the council may adopt in the future.

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