Manti looking at design standards for historic Main Street, ‘gateways’
By Teri Forbes
MANTI—Manti is considering some fairly progressive zoning ordinances designed to preserve the ambiance of the town’s historic Main Street.
The city is also new considering ordinances affecting future development, including residential development, in other areas of town.
The Manti City Council and Manti City Planning Commission held a joint meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 16 to look at draft ordinances that would set standards for historic commercial zone running along Main Street from 200 South to 300 North and for so-called “gateway” commercial/industrial areas at the north and south entrances to the city.
The officials also looked at ordinances drafted by a consulting firm, Urban Planners International, LLC, for some housing types that don’t presently exist in the city, including duplexes, twin homes, row houses, town homes and apartments.
Kent Barton, Manti city administrator, noted that Urban Planners International, which is headed by Dr. Michael Clay, a professor of urban planning at BYU, was the consulting firm for Manti’s last general plan.
The firm has had contracts throughout the state, including with Logan, Springville, Clinton, Spanish Fork, Payson and Cedar City.
A couple of years ago, the city decided to bring the company back to help with preservation of the streetscape along Main Street. Another goal was to retain and attract commercial business in the city.
Then last year, the city annexed 400-plus acres of residential developable land north and east of the city, including some land north of the Manti Temple. That was the impetus for asking the consultants to broaden their focus to new housing types and higher density housing.
The city also assigned the consulting firm to put together potential ordinances on a few narrower topics. Those assignments included a residential-fence ordinance, a large-animal ordinance and language beefing up the city’s nuisance ordinance.
The January meeting was the firm’s second get-together with planning commission and city council members. The main focus of discussion was the historic commercial zone. The ordinance being proposed for the zone addresses signs, parking lots, building heights, space between buildings, design and other requirements.
The draft language on signs states that signs are to be limited to the business being identified, with no flashing, rotating, animated or neon signs. Sign are to harmonize with palette of colors that presently exist in the zone.
The draft ordinance says buildings in the zone may not exceed two stories, and in future construction, must be attached or directly adjacent to existing buildings to as to leave no space on the sides.
The design standards state that upper floors should engage street life through balconies, windows and architectural features that provide a pleasant pedestrian experience.
The draft ordinance proposes gas stations not be permitted in the historic commercial zone (although the one existing convenience store would be grandfathered in) and that freight loading or unloading not occur on Main Street.
Next was the review of the city’s north and south gateway commercial zones. The north zone runs along the Main Street and U.S. 89 frontages from 800 North to north city limit (approximately 1100 North).
The south zone begins south of residential streets as U.S. 89 angles to the west. It runs along U.S. 89 frontage from 100 West to the city limit (approximately 500 West) and takes in vacant land between Alvey Lumber and the Sheriff’s Complex.
The north gateway zone requirements propose that no advertising (such as billboards) be permitted. The only signs would be simple signs on business buildings identifying the businesses. The draft language also bans flashing, rotating, animated and neon signs and requires sign colors to harmonize with existing colors in the zone.
Building heights in the north gateway area would be limited to three stories. Structures would be required to have front-facing facades, and the facade materials and architectural styles would be subject to approval. Landscaping would also be required.
The south gateway zone includes the same requirements as the north gateway but also includes lot-size requirements—a minimum of 2 and maximum of 5 acres.
Regarding residential zones, Clay passed out a handout stating that the purpose of proposed new residential zoning rules is to provide locations where neighborhoods can be established, maintained and protected.
The regulations would permit churches, schools, libraries, parks and playgrounds in residential zones. Different residential neighborhoods would be separated based on density.
One of conditional uses proposed in residential zones—mobile home parks and trailer parks—seemed to strike a nerve.
Some officials at the meeting asked if the parks should be eliminated altogether in the city. But one attendee said eliminating the mobile home and trailer parks would leave some people with limited options for an affordable place to live in Manti.
Officials commented that if mobile home parks were banned, the two current parks in the city would be grandfathered in and could continue to operate.
Another ordinance being drafted addresses large animals, livestock, fencing, limits on farm animals based on lot size and cruelty to animals.
To get input, Clay distributed a one-page questionnaire. Some of the questions were: “Do you own any large animals? “Are the animals kept for breeding or for pleasure?” “Do you believe the number of large animals on a lot should be limited, if so, how many animals is too many?” There was also a question about fencing and whether owners of large animals should be required to mitigate the odor of their livestock.
Clay asked that the questionnaire be completed and returned within a week so the responses could be incorporated and discussed at the next meeting.
Clay said the planning commission hoped review another draft of the ordinances and to wrap up work on them by Feb. 15, which is the end date of the city’s contract with his firm.
After that, he said, the city could begin scheduling time for public review and comment, and move from there to adoption.