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West Jordan Journal

Ordinance passed to subdivide rural 1-acre lot

Nov 03, 2017 02:58PM ● By Becca Ketelsleger

The neighborhood in question has a rural feel to residents because of the large lots with animal rights, and the streets without curb or gutter. (Becca Ketelsleger/City Journals)

Arguably the most divisive issue arising from the Sept. 13 West Jordan City Council meeting, Ordinance 17-51 revisited a common theme the city has seen frequently this year: rezoning lots meant for rural use to smaller lot sizes. 

Property owners Amy and Jason Zander brought the ordinance forward. It would section off a parcel of their 1-acre lot to build a second home on a 14,000-square-foot lot. With the low-density residential classification for the area listed on the general land use map, 14,000 square feet would be the smallest lot allowed. 

“The primary reason for zoning to R1-14 rather than a half-acre lot is so that they can keep the use of their backyard after a home is built,” said Larry Gardner. “The lot will probably end up larger than 14,000 square feet.” 

While there are other smaller lots in the neighborhood where the Zanders’ lot sits, 7347 South 3200 West, none are directly adjacent to them. 

“Our neighborhood consists of 40 homes,” said Jason Zander. “Of the 40 homes in the neighborhood, we have collected signatures of 25 households who fully support our intentions; three of the four properties that are adjacent to our property are fully supportive.”

However, the opposition to the rezone came not only in relation to the size of the lot but as to other questions regarding the ramifications of such a change. 

Numerous neighbors in opposition to the rezone also signed a petition. 

One concern was whether the surrounding lots would lose their animal rights if the rezone passed. 

“The only people that will lose animal rights are the Zanders,” said Gardner. “They have no interest in keeping animals.” 

A second concern was whether the whole neighborhood would be required to put in curb, gutter and sidewalk since the new zoning would be as a subdivision. 

Gardner said not only is that inaccurate, but the new house would not even have to put the improvements in immediately. Instead, they could choose to defer the improvements, “which would mean depositing the cash so if in the future if the city decides to arrest them, then we have the cash to already pay for that development.” 

Since the Zanders would also technically be part of the new subdivision, the same provisions for curb and gutter would apply to their existing home. 

Allen Pero raised what may have been the largest concern for several neighbors. His research took him back to 2002 when another subdivision request was made to divide what were one acre lots, down to half acre lots. This prior rezone was passed in August 2002 and brought up issues regarding the water line. Pero claimed that there is only a 6-inch culinary water line feeding several lots in the area, and it was recommended in 2002 that the line be upgraded to an 8-inch water line. His research indicated that this upgrade was never made. 

Pero requested that the issue be tabled until further research could be done into the insufficient water line. 

Amy Zander said she and her husband are friends with the applicant for the prior rezone, Rob Bailey, and that he confirmed he had paid for the upgraded water line. 

“I just want to follow up—they paid for the line, but did they get the line?” asked Councilman Dirk Burton. 

“According to our utility maps, that water line is a 6-inch line,” said Justin Stoker, deputy public works director. “Looking over the water model and master plan, it said that the existing water system was adequate for this area, based on the current zoning.” 

He said the water line upgrade wouldn’t provide anything more than some additional flow. If there is additional subdividing to the south, it would need to be upgraded, but the subdivision in question would have no impact. 

While there were many speaking in opposition to the rezone, there were also several neighbors that spoke in support of the ordinance. 

 “When I go down south, there are multiple neighbors and friends that have homes that do not fit within the recommended guidelines for the acreage and plot size,” said West Jordan resident Kathleen Szymanski, voicing her support for the re-zone. “In my personal opinion, this lot would add value to my neighborhood.”

In the end, the vote passed 4-3, with Councilmembers Alan Anderson, Burton and Chris McConnehey dissenting.