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Plan for high-end apartments in WVC back to drawing board

Published May 3, 2012 11:13 am

Highbury • Council questions whether project meets community needs.
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West Valley City • A proposed project of almost 300 higher-priced and senior apartments in the Highbury at Lake Park development is headed back to the drawing board.

The West Valley City Council voted 5-2 on April 24 to reject a zoning change that would have allowed Castlewood Development to build the project as part of the development. Some council members stressed that they liked the quality of the proposed development but questioned whether the community needs more multifamily housing.

"Yes, these are nicer apartments than what we have," Councilman Steve Buhler said. "However, are we just to be an apartment community? I don't think that's the vision that my constituents have. People that I know move away from West Valley City not to go to apartments. They move away to go to big houses on big lots because we don't have enough here."

But Mayor Mike Winder — who, along with Councilman Don Christensen, cast a yes vote for the proposed zoning change — said he hesitates to micromanage what a "responsible developer with a solid project" can do with his property.

He also said, "How do we figure out what the desired need is? Are we second-guessing all the feasibility studies the private sector's done?"

Duaine Rasmussen of Castlewood Development said his company will continue to work with city staffers and property owner Suburban Land Reserve (SLR) — a subsidiary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — "and see if we can't find something that's a little bit more palatable."

Plans call for apartments on about 13 acres at 2801 S. Daybury Drive in the Highbury at Lake Park area, which includes homes, businesses and green space. The apartment site is part of a 29.3-acre triangular parcel that lies between 5600 West and the Lake Park Corporate Centre, which is an SLR development at Bangerter Highway (4000 West).

The proposed project envisions about 230 higher-priced apartments on 10.7 acres and about 50 apartments reserved for tenants 55 years old or older on 2.2 acres.

The senior apartments all would be 700 square feet with one bedroom and one bath. That part of the project would have an attached clubhouse and recreation area, a fitness room, a library and a business center.

The other apartments would be a mix of one bedroom and one bath, two bedroom and two bath, and three bedroom and two bath units ranging from 700 square feet to 1,230 square feet.

At the April 24 meeting, Rasmussen ticked off a list of project amenities: walk-in closets in the master bedroom, a full-size washer and dryer, lots of open space, picnic and barbecue areas, an exercise room, swimming pool, hot tub, clubhouse, resident business center, high-speed Internet and more than two parking spaces per apartment.

A survey showed that people working at higher-paying jobs in Lake Park were going to other cities for apartments with the features they wanted, he said.

"We think this fits very well in the master plan of the Highbury-Lake Park area and gives you an opportunity to create the type of product that you do not currently have in this community," Rasmussen said.

The West Valley City Planning Commission earlier approved the request for a zoning change, which then went to the City Council for a vote. The 29 acres now are zoned a combination of manufacturing, single-family residential with a minimum lot size of 8,000 square feet, and multifamily residential.


Twitter: @PamelaMansonSLC