Planning commission votes on Tavaci zoning change
Cottonwood Heights • City's latest compromise is moving ahead despite developer's lawsuit.
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Tavaci could move a little closer to gaining a higher-density zoning, even as developer Terry Diehl petitions to disconnect from the city in Third District Court.

The Cottonwood Heights Planning Commission will consider recommending a new zoning category — the Canyon Residential Development, or CRD — for Tavaci at its meeting Wednesday.

The proposal would allow Diehl to put nearly 200 higher-density units on the property at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon, nearly doubling the city's previous compromise of about 95 units.

But the Planning Commission could alter those numbers, said Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore Jr., by allowing only single-family homes along the 45-acre property's ridge. Members have indicated they are comfortable with higher-density units in the center "village" area of the development, but are concerned about allowing taller structures along the area's sight lines, Cullimore said.

"It would be more than what he has now, but less than we were proposing," Cullimore said.

Diehl's attorney, Bruce Baird, did not return calls Tuesday, but has previously stated that the developer has no interest in the city's proposal. Diehl is currently suing to disconnect Tavaci from the city, which would put him on Salt Lake County turf, where he would ask county planners for a boutique hotel, restaurants and limited shopping in addition to residential units.

The city has filed a motion to dismiss the suit, Cullimore said, arguing that Diehl's request is not supported by 50 percent of the property owners involved, as required by law. The road leading to the development — owned by Rocky Mountain Power — is not included in the petition, Cullimore said.

The lawsuit has led residents to question why the city is continuing with the rezoning proposal, said Will McCarvill of the group CHVoters.

"We think its premature," he said. "Why are we going forward without knowing whether Tavaci will even be in the city or not?"

But Cullimore believes the zoning change is important, showing that the city is willing to work with a developer and keep a sizeable tax base in the city. The city wants to see a viable development at the base of the canyon, Cullimore said, but is only willing to go so far.

"It's kind of setting the boundaries," Cullimore said of the new zone. "We're saying this is where we are willing to go."

If the planning commission recommends the zoning change, it will then have to go before the city council. If approved, the zone will exist, but will still have to go through the Planning Commission and Council again before being applied to the property.

kdrake@sltrib.com —

Planning Commission meeting

The Cottonwood Heights Planning Commission is expected to vote on the proposed Canyon Residential Development at on Wednesday at a 6 p.m. meeting. To view the agenda, visit http://bit.ly/zeOFv6.