Manti looking at more detailed residential zoning classifications

Manti looking at more detailed

residential zoning classifications


By Suzanne Dean




MANTI—Now that the Manti City Council has approved a historic commercial zone on Main Street, the council is starting to look at a new zoning scheme for residential areas, a move that ultimately could have a wide impact on the city.

Currently, the city has only one residential zoning classification—known simply as “residential.”

All housing types—single family homes, duplexes, triplexes and apartments—are allowed in areas zoned “residential.” But in reality, most residential zones consist predominantly of single-family homes.

One of the recommendations from Michael Clay, a BYU professor of urban planning who has been city’s consultant for several years on planning and zoning matters, was that the city encourage a wider variety of housing types and define zones for the different types.

One of the drivers for the recommendation is the fact many young families can’t afford to buy a home and need other options. Possibilities might be duplex units, townhomes and condominiums.

In late February, a letter from Mayor Korry Soper went out with utility bills to all households inviting residents to a meeting last Wednesday, March 18, to give input on residential zoning. The meeting was cancelled because of the coronavirus, but will be rescheduled after the pandemic threat clears up, said Kent Barton, city manager.

“Since the residential zone changes were proposed there has been a fair amount of misinformation communicated,” Soper said in the letter, “including a flyer that was distributed to some residents declaring that the city’s plan is to “pack ‘em and

stack ‘em.”

The letter seemed to suggest the city wants to “fill existing neighborhoods with apartment houses. That suggestion is untrue,” Soper wrote. The mayor said the goal was to respond to the need for housing that is not available right now and the changes would not “disrupt established neighborhoods.”

A draft ordinance contains three zoning classifications:

  • R-1 would allow single-family homes with a minimum lot size of one-quarter acre.
  • R-2, a medium-density zone, would permit single-family dwellings on lots of at least 8,000 square feet. It would also permit duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes with the lot sizes for those structures based on number of units.
  • R-3, a higher-density zone, would permit homes on 6,000-square-foot lots. The category would also permit duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes and apartment structures of up to 12 units.

At a city council meeting earlier this month, Barton emphasized that the proposal now on the table is simply to define the residential zones and what is permitted in each zones. Once that’s done, the city council can look at re-zoning areas of the city.

Barton told city council members, “You’re not establishing zones at this point; you’re just creating the ability within your ordinance to create zones in the future.”

At another point in the meeting, he said, “Physically creating those zones is going to require a whole other process of hearings and notification,” including notifying property owners in or near the tracts being zoned.

Councilman Jason Vernon wanted to know, “What’s the plan?” for implementing the new zoning once classifications are established. “At some point, we’re going to need to come up with maps…to create the zones on maps.”

One issue that has come up is whether any of the new zoning classifications should allow “accessory dwellings,” such as cottages, cabins and mother-in-law apartments, on property that also has a main dwelling.

Councilwoman Mary Wintch said if accessory dwellings are permitted, the ordinance should ensure that such a dwelling “doesn’t become a problem to neighbors to the property.”

Vernon said he wanted the accessory dwelling issue pinned down in the ordinance defining different zones before the council moved on to zoning specific areas “because that could change how we rezone the city.”

Barton said the city council would probably want to devote some time to hashing out the accessory dwelling issue.