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Smithfield OK’s housing density increases for developers

February 14th, 2012 Posted in Opinion

By Jessica Wilkinson

SMITHFIELD — Members of the City Council found themselves in disagreement Wednesday as two ordinances were introduced and discussed. Though public hearings lacked participation, the council thoroughly addressed both issues.

“I’ve always fought for the other side,” said Councilwoman Kris Monson, in response to Ordinance 11-16, which addresses residential density. “I hate seeing too many people in a small space.”

Ordinance 11-16 specifically addresses multiple family residential areas. With the modifications prepared by the planning commission, developers would have the opportunity to earn density increases. So long as specific requirements were fulfilled, a housing development could be awarded a 10 percent density expansion.
Suggested requirements included specified exterior material and designated recreation facilities.

“I don’t like thick density,” Monson said, clarifying her apprehension.

Brent Buttars defended the ordinance’s potential revisions, recognizing long-term benefits of incentives. He expressed his concern for the future of multifamily developments, acknowledging a need for admirable housing not only today but 10 years from now.

“I think that pretty well summarizes what the planning commission came up with,” said Mayor Simmons.

Impressed by the attempt of ensuring high-quality, space-preserving housing investments, the council supported the amendment 5-1.

Before the council voted on Ordinance 11-16, Simmons directed Buttars to introduce Ordinance 11-05. “What we want to do is learn from other peoples’ mistakes,” Buttars said, prior to presenting revisions of the vehicle park and campground regulations.

Ordinance 11-05 outlines the terms, conditions, and responsibilities one would agree to in the instance of occupying any designated Smithfield vehicle park or campground. It specifies how, when, and where recreational areas can develop and will only permit an allotted length of visit per person.

“I think it’s so smart,” Monson said. “I think it’s a great ordinance.

Later, attention was directed to City Manager Jim Gass as he presented various issues within the community. During which, he brought to the council’s attention the Smithfield city youth center and its need for renovation. He said a recent visit by him confirmed all and any public complaints he had heard. The future of the building will be considered and addressed later in the year.


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