Victor P&Z recommends conditional approval of Broulim’s rezone
After three attempts in five years, Broulim’s has made it past the first step in the City of Victor’s rezone approval process, receiving a positive recommendation from the Victor Planning & Zoning Commission on Thursday, April 22.
Previous efforts in 2016 and 2019 by Broulim’s to establish a new store in Victor received recommendations for denial by P&Z commissioners, causing the company to withdraw its applications both times.
Now, the eastern Idaho grocery store chain is under contract to buy the old Victor Elementary School on Center Street, and is seeking a rezone from civic to commercial mixed use.
In a series of meetings over the past three months, the P&Z commission has worked on a list of conditions to apply to the requested rezone. Last month they asked Mark Oswald, the applicant and vice president of Broulim’s, to respond to each of the conditions proposed. The management team was amenable to some of the conditions, such as neighborhood outreach, street trees, and benches. Others were up for debate, like exploring the possibility of an alley or easement leading from Main to Agate Street, and a requirement that the store be open Sundays. Oswald said that while Broulim’s is considering the option, the requirement infringed on the company’s and staff’s religious convictions; city attorney Herb Heimerl countered that the city could regulate a company’s hours for the benefit of its community.
A few conditions, Oswald said, were nonstarters—prohibitions on the sale of some items such as alcohol, prepared foods, flowers, and pharmaceuticals—which were originally proposed to protect small downtown Victor businesses from losing customers.
The commissioners agreed to drop those prohibitions, but stood firm on one condition in particular: housing. The proposed project includes five housing units on the second floor of the store, but P&Z asked for more.
“I think we should be able to give up a lot of the more onerous conditions that we put forward, now that we’ve had some time to reflect,” said Commissioner Matt Thackray. “When I think about this proposal and its reception by the community, I feel like we’ve heard a lot of negative comments, some positive but predominately negative. How can we develop a win-win solution for the City of Victor?...I think we can have a project to point to and say, we have a new grocery store in town and we worked together to solve a bit of the housing problem.”
Commissioner Kristi Aslin agreed, saying that in the ReEnvision Victor comprehensive plan update process, the community asked for a livable, workable city. “I think we need to stand firm on this and set a precedent for developers: if you’re going to bring a business here, you’re going to need to provide some housing for your employees.”
The commission voted to recommend approval with a requirement of a one-to-one ratio of housing to commercial space, Sunday business hours, and several other conditions of approval.
Victor City Council will likely take up the matter in a public hearing next month and make the final decision on the rezone. Broulim’s will also need to seek design review and a conditional use permit in order to construct a 20,000 sq. ft. building in town.
Because the meeting had already gone late, P&Z voted to continue the Teton Valley Resort annexation and conditional use permit public hearings until May 20, expecting that those two applications would require significant deliberation and attract ample public comment. The application to annex another 12 acres into the RV park and resort on Highway 31 had drawn the attention of Valley Advocates for Responsible Development and the Intermountain Fair Housing Council because there are still Rocking H Mobile Home tenants living and paying rent on the property proposed for the resort’s second phase.
P&Z also voted to approve the Mountainside Village Phase IV concept plan, which outlines 49 new residential lots and two open space lots on the flat eastern portion of the subdivision, below the foothills of the easternmost segment of Mountainside. Developer Larry Thal will need to submit a preliminary plat application within 18 months in order to continue the approval process before building in Phase IV.