The dust had barely settled on the Salt Lake County Planning Commission's rejection of a rezoning request for Tavaci Development, at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, when the developer turned to the County Council for a different decision.
On Tuesday, the council set an Aug. 6 public hearing on the rezoning request, unanimously recommended for denial on Wednesday by the Planning Commission, which would give developer Terry Diehl latitude to transform the stalled development of 43 half-acre residential lots into a multifamily project with commercial pieces and the potential for buildings 100 feet high.
Bruce Baird, an attorney representing Diehl on what is formally known as Cottonwood Estates Development, submitted the request.
The developer has been trying to get high-density zoning on the 47-acre parcel since the Great Recession changed business conditions. Last year, Diehl disconnected from Cottonwood Heights and returned to the unincorporated county after the city would not rezone the property to the density he desired.
After a four-hour hearing Wednesday, the Planning Commission cited eight reasons for opposing rezoning.
Potential building height was a starter, with the commission declaring that high rises at the canyon's north entrance "would be intrusive and impact mountain views." Concerns also were expressed about the adequacy of a steep entrance road, off the Big Cottonwood Canyon highway, to handle the higher density eyed by the developer, particularly since there are no immediate plans for a second access road to the site.
The commission also referenced the proposal's incompatibility with the 1992 Cottonwood Heights master plan, impacts on wildlife habitat and a belief it was premature before the county finishes drafting its general plan for the canyons.
Commissioners also noted the objections of Roger Kehr, who bought one of Tavaci's 43 lots and does not want the subdivision he thought he was buying into becoming a high-density development.