Centerfield City considering relaxing restrictions on duplex development

Centerfield City considering

relaxing restrictions

on duplex development


Ordinance puts focus on
growth vs. status quo


By Ryan Roos

Staff writer

Apr. 12, 2018


CENTERFIELD—The Centerfield City Council is looking to relax restrictions on duplex development, thus paving the way for  the community’s future growth. 

The city council will vote April 18 on whether to amend an ordinance adjusting  the number of duplex or twin homes that may be built per city block. Renewed interest in the issue was sparked by a local investor who wants to bring duplex housing to the community. 

 With a serious proposal to develop duplex housing on the table for the first time, the city council has opted to review and update the existing law.

A major point of debate is how much street frontage each new duplex will be required to occupy. While single family homes built in Centerfield are required to have no less than 100 feet of street frontage, the proposed amendment would allow for duplexes to have only 150 feet of frontage. With standard city blocks running 660 feet in length, this reduced space requirement will allow for an increase in family units per block.

Among those enthusiastic about the proposed amendment is Centerfield Mayor Tom Sorensen, who sees opportunity on the horizon. “This expansion will allow for more families to find housing in our community,” Sorensen said. “With industry in Gunnison growing, both with the prison and at ACT Aerospace, a real need is developing in terms of housing in the valley.”

Centerfield’s location between Gunnison and Salina make it the natural choice for residential growth on the south end of Sanpete County, Sorensen said.  The city has an abundance of unoccupied land that the neighboring community of Gunnison lacks and therefore can accommodate what many view as inevitable growth coming to the area.

Yet some longtime residents feel Centerfield’s small-town charm is in jeopardy.

 Centerfield Councilman David Beck is among residents who feel the revised parameters will likely bring unwelcome changes to the city’s relaxed atmosphere. “People come to Centerfield to get away from the congestion of larger cities, not to move into more of the same” he said. “The people of Centerfield value their open space and quiet living. There is plenty of room for single family houses here. We don’t need eight households on a street. This congestion is completely unnecessary.”

Beck said he would like to see a more aggressive approach to preserving Centerfield’s space by raising the minimum frontage to 200 feet, which would drastically reduce the number of duplexes possible per city block. “People I’ve talked to say five households per block should be about the limit, and I agree, Beck said.

While Mayor Sorensen acknowledged that population growth will be a likely bi-product of bringing duplex housing to the community, he insisted such advances can occur comfortably. Centerfield is prepared, he said.

A 2016 merger between Gunnison and Centerfield law enforcement led to the formation of the Gunnison Valley Police Department. This increased Centerfield’s law enforcement presence to five officers.

As Utah’s population continues to boom, Central Utah isn’t immune to the trend. As Utah County to the north struggles to provide affordable housing, Sanpete County has begun to experience its own housing challenges. Councilman Beck foresees the possibility of Sanpete County residents as far north as Manti and Ephraim moving should large amounts of inexpensive housing become available in Centerfield.

On April 4, the city council failed to pass the proposed amendment when the vote resulted in a 2-2 tie. City recorder Lacey Belnap explained the tie vote was more a reflection of the council’s desire to proceed cautiously. “We wanted to ensure this was done with complete transparency,” Belnap said

The mayor echoed Belnap’s caution. “Making sure everything is done ethically and correctly is always our primary concern,” the mayor explained. “With that being said, I fully expect this proposal to pass on April 18th.”