Manti approves zoning ordinance that will open door to more
types of housing in city
By Suzanne Dean
MANTI—The Manti City Council has passed a new residential zoning ordinance, concluding an examination of current and future development in the city that began five years ago.
The main thrust of the new residential ordinance, approved last Wednesday, Nov. 18, is to open the door to more housing types in the city, including so-called accessory dwellings in existing residential neighborhoods, and townhomes, twin homes and multi-story apartments on land that might be developed in the future.
“As I come to the end of my second term, I feel we accomplished something this year with both of these ordinances,” Mayor Korry Soper said, referring to a Main Street zoning ordinance passed in February and the residential zoning ordinance approved last week.
He said the residential zoning ordinance fulfills the housing goals in the general plan. “The general plan showed we needed more housing for lower incomes, for younger couples and families who want to live in Manti.”
He said the commercial zoning ordinance was designed to preserve the historic Main Street, and by doing so, preserve businesses, too.
“We just want to make Manti better and more viable for our businesses,” he said.
At the Nov. 18 meeting, Councilwoman Mary Wintch referred to a public hearing on the residential ordinance held Sept. 16 and subsequent city council discussions of the ordinance draft.
“I think we tried to accommodate a good percentage of the community input and adjusted the document accordingly,” she said.
Before the new residential zoning ordinance was passed, there was only one residential zone in Manti, called simply “residential.”
After passing the new ordinance, which creates three zones, R-1, R-2 and R-3, the city council rezoned “everything shown on the map” as “residential” to the new R-1 classification.
The rules for the old “residential” zone and the new R-1 zone are identical with one exception. R-1 permits accessory dwelling units in existing single-family neighborhoods. The potential for accessory dwellings is the one provision of the ordinance that could create immediate change in the city.
An accessory dwelling is a unit added to a single-family property. The unit can be created by designating part of the existing home as a separate dwelling or by building an addition onto the home.
Other options are converting a barn or other outbuilding into a freestanding cottage-style home or constructing a new home in available space on the lot.
The main requirement in the accessory dwelling section of the ordinance is that either the main home or accessory unit must be owner-occupied.
In addition, the owner must get a permit to create the second unit, provide off-street parking for both units, and have a single utility service for both units. Finally, if the main home is sold, the accessory unit must be sold with it to the same buyer.
The accompanying chart outlines the uses permitted in each of the three new zones. Generally, as one moves from R-1 to R-2 to R-3, the lot size required for different housing types gets smaller.
For example, a person who wants to build a single-family home in R-1 needs a quarter-acre lot. In R-2, the person needs a just under one-fifth of an acre. In R-3, he or she needs just under one-eighth of an acre.
Manti planning and zoning effort over the past five years
2015: City contracts with a BYU city planning professor and his students to prepare a new, 10-year general plan.
2016: City council adopts the new plan.
2018: The city hires the BYU professor to write a new commercial zoning ordinance and a new residential zoning ordinance to implement goals in the general plan.
2019: Public hearing is held on draft of zoning ordinance for the historic Main Street commercial district. Business owners are opposed to the measure.
February 2020: The city council revises the Main Street ordinance, holds a second public hearing, and later passes the ordinance.
September 2020: A public hearing is held on the residential zoning ordinance.
November 2020: The city council reviews the residential ordinance at a work meeting and tightens up some of the provisions. Two weeks later, the council passes the ordinance