Cedar City Council approves ordinances creating new student housing district on 200 North

City Council chambers at the April 14, 2021, meeting in Cedar City, Utah | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Ordinances amending the general use plan and zoning were the major items of business on the agenda at the Wednesday meeting of the Cedar City Council, consistent with the vast majority of what the councils deals with in a typical meeting.

L-R: Cedar City Council members Scott Phillips, Tyler Melling and Ronald Adams during discussion in the meeting, Cedar City, Utah, April 14, 2021 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News / Cedar City News

In an email to Cedar City news, council member Tyler Melling said that the council definitely sees more requests for changes during times of growth.

“These are good opportunities to assess our policies and see where we can make changes to encourage more of what we want to see in our city,” Melling wrote.

The general plan and zoning are two different policies. The general plan, which is revised every 10 years, indicates what the city expects to see in an area over the long term, while zoning determines what can be developed on a property and how the property is used. The current City Council is working on its most recent version of the general plan. 

On Wednesday, 14 of the 20 items on the action agenda were about general plan and zoning ordinances. Ten of those issues were fairly clear, required little if any discussion and passed unanimously.

For example, an ordinance amending the general use plan from natural open space to central commercial for property located at 3000 N. Minersville Highway just north of Interstate 15 Exit 62 was decided quickly. Iron County has been taxing the property as commercial for the last 14 years, and all the surrounding property is zoned commercially. 

“Sometimes we wonder ‘Well, why do we have a general plan if we’re always changing it?’ It’s because of stuff like this,” Melling said during discussion. “This was kind of a silly land use designation for that property.”

Other land use and zoning decisions are quite complex and require discussion to sort through.

Area of 200 North in Cedar City, Utah, where Velocity Homes requested a change from commercial zoning to a student housing district designation at the April 14 Cedar City Council meeting | Map from Google Maps, St. George News / Cedar City News | Click to enlarge

One such issue Wednesday night involved ordinances changing the general use plan and zoning for property located along 200 North between 600 West and 700 West.

Velocity Homes President Spencer Jones asked the council to change the general use plan and the zoning for the property, which had previously had three separate designations, to a student housing district, a designation that allows for both commercial and residential units on the property.

Speaking with St. George News after the meeting, Jones said the first floor of the proposed project is intended for new offices and a new design floor, while the second floor will feature high-end student housing.

“We’re constantly getting requests for more student housing,” Jones said. “All of our properties for student housing this fall are already full.” 

The council debated issues such as number of parking spaces and accessibility, then voted 5-0 to approve the ordinances. However, there was disagreement among council members about what came next.

Jones asked to change the general use plan and zoning for an adjacent property at 161 N. 700 West to student housing district designation, with the intention of using it for a parking lot. 

L-R: Cedar City Council members Terri Hartley, Craig Isom and Scott Phillips during discussion at the meeting, Cedar City, Utah, April 14, 2021 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News / Cedar City News

“I guess I wondered, why take it all the way to SHD?” council member Terri Hartley asked. “It’s kind of a little one lot island sitting there.”

“I was shooting far beyond what the minimum requirement is,” Jones responded. “I just kind of took the high road and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to do it as SHD.’ The ordinance allows for on-sight parking to be within 300 feet, and this is just barely 100 feet away.”

The ordinances changing the general plan and zoning on the property were both approved 3-2, with Hartley and council member Scott Phillips voting nay.

Phillips, as he pointed out in the work session of the council last week, was hoping the existing parking lot would be sufficient for the property and keep the feel of the existing neighborhood.

“I have concerns regarding the neighborhoods surrounding our SHD developments,” Phillips wrote in an email to St. George News after the meeting. “They are all generally centered around the university and it also tends to have some of the more historic homes and neighborhoods within the city.”

In other action item business, the council unanimously approved an amendment to city ordinance 27a regarding alcohol sales and consumption in city parks. Possession or use of alcoholic beverages at a city park is still prohibited, with the exception of the city’s golf course, where it is allowed as long as it is lawfully sold.

City Attorney Tyler Romeril explained to the council that the amendment states alcohol can also be lawfully sold at a beer garden “as authorized by the City Council in compliance with state law.”

“So that leaves the city council a little more leeway about where that beer garden is held.”

Along these lines but in the subsequent action item, the council also unanimously approved a local consent for a beer garden at the annual Cedar Livestock & Heritage Festival, taking place this year Oct. 29-30 at Cross Hollows Arena.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!