On Tuesday the Driggs City Council approved a rezone from industrial mixed use to residential mixed use for four lots on the northwest side of the city. The rezone would allow the developer, Mountain Life Ventures, to build a considerable amount of housing on the property.
The four lots are surrounded by residential zones on the west and south side, with the Silver Star Communications facility to the north and vacant commercial lots to the east. Mixed use residential would allow for flexibility in the kind of housing offered; the developer submitted a site plan that shows 12 four-plex housing units on the 3.6-acre property.
The planning and zoning commission recommended approval for the rezone on May 8. City planner Annie Dell’Isola said the queries and comments she had received about the application were all regarding the Valley Centre local improvement district, which is currently in the works. Property owners (including the city) along Valley Centre Drive and the public portion of Moraine Court will be responsible for paying for the paving and sidewalk construction of those degrading roads. However, the road on which the future four-plexes will be built is private, and Dell’Isola said that the rezone cannot be tied to the maintenance of a private roads. The council will weigh that question during the subdivision process.
“The LID and road ownership really should not affect this rezone consideration,” she said. “Road ownership will come into play when we’re talking about platting that subdivision.”
During the public hearing Pete Rossi, a part-time resident of Buffalo Valley south of the proposed development, spoke in favor of the rezone and said he felt that residential units were an appropriate use for the property.
Councilwoman August Christensen said that while she thought the rezone fit with the surrounding neighborhoods, she was concerned about the dwindling supply of light industrial areas within the city. Dell’Isola explained that with a recent code amendment, the city had expanded the uses permitted in commercial zones to encompass low-impact industrial uses.
Councilman Wade Kaufman called approval “an easy vote.”
“Housing is a hot button for everyone in the community,” he said. “This is a prime example of what we as a city have been trying to advocate for.”
The council voted unanimously in favor of the rezone.