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North Logan council, planning commission work on city center details

September 22nd, 2012 Posted in Opinion

By Jessica Sonderegger

NORTH LOGAN — The City Council and the Planning Commission met together Thursday night in a workshop setting, attempting to settle some uncertainties associated with the City Center Project.

“Our role is to take direction and then plan it,” said Planning Commission member Chris Nelson. “We’ll move forward to make it happen, but we have to have direction.”

Because of a moratorium placed on a city ordinance related to the mixed-use zoning of the proposed city center area, officials have less than two months to consider ordinance revisions before they run out of time to alter the ordinance.

Though the moratorium will end mid-November, there was talk of a possible extension if certain requirements were met.

“Let’s assume we have to move quickly,” said commission chairman Mark Hancy.

In an interview prior to the joint meeting, Councilman Damon Cann explained the council and planning commission will need to be “actively considering” the revision of the ordinance in order for an extension to be granted. Current revisions being considered are transitioning from mixed-use zoning to form-based code.

“It is not clear to me that we have an additional 180 days,” Cann said, during Thursday’s joint meeting.

“If not a form-based mixed-use hybrid,” Hancy said, “than what?”

“Nobody is banking on a silver bullet to make this happen,” said Jacob Young, a landscape architect and land planner of Civil Solutions Group. Young said they just need to collectively determine the recipe of how to do this right.

“We’re focused on the ‘how to’ instead of the ‘what’,” Hancy said. “What do you think the city center is?”

The assembly of city officials, obviously concerned with the progression of said proposal, quickly made it a habit of diverting from the question at hand: What will the city center be? What does the city council want the city center to consist of?

After firm persuasion by the commission, the city council started talking.

Cann gave a well-versed outline of his personal vision. His ideal structure would consist of a residential area in close proximity to a commercial area; a natural place to have housing with detached, affordable, single-family homes. Cann also clarified that the population density will be somewhat higher in the city center’s residential area than the rest of North Logan, but requests that the design prevent an overwhelming amount of traffic.

Councilman John Bailey quickly agreed with Cann and testified of his confidence in form-based code.

“Form based code gives us an instrument to answer some of those questions,” Bailey said.

Councilwoman Nancy Potter argued form-based code, after offering her ideas. “If we’re going to do this as a city center,” she said, “I think we need the park to be the anchor.” Potter later confirmed not only her dislike of form-based code, but her reservations with the proposed density and her fear of making the wrong move.

“If we don’t get it right,” she said, “we’ll be in trouble, big time.”

Commission member Geri Christensen reminded the city officials of her enthusiasm toward the upcoming plans, stating that she herself was mainly invested on behalf of her children and grandchildren. She looks forward to the family environment that will be provided by a quaint downtown area.

“I feel like we have some sort of consensus,” Cann said, concluding the discussion.

All members present at the meeting were at least agreeing on this much: North Logan officials will continue to design, draft and discuss development plans for a future city center.


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