Uintah Apartments project withdrawn

Proposal folds after neighborhood and planning staff opposition
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Scott Hiller, among those opposed to the complex, stands next to the site. (Photo by Pam Zubeck)

A proposed 56-unit apartment project to be built on 2.27 acres near 19th and Uintah streets has been withdrawn after neighbors opposed it and the city planning staff said it would recommend denial to the Planning Commission.

“My overall thought is that the city had the opportunity to do the right thing, and they did,” Scott Hiller tells Sixty35 by phone. Hiller lives adjacent to what would have been the Uintah Apartments parcel. “They told the developer the zone change wasn’t appropriate, and the master plan of the area did not want those types of things, and told them it would move forward without a recommendation of the city. I think it’s great. They did the right thing.”

Hiller, who is a candidate for an unexpired term on City Council representing District 3, also credited neighbors who presented “a very cogent argument” to city planners based on in-depth research and study.

We first wrote about the project in August when area residents brought attention to issues involving density and traffic.

Late last month, city planners dealt the developer, René Mondejar III, a setback when they notified neighbors via email of the following:

“During the initial review, staff comments included additional language for justification of the zone change to include the Westside Plan and staff also commented on the density proposed. While the resubmittal does include a more detailed justification section to include the Westside Plan, the justification does not address the area detailed as residential/office and medium density on the ‘Generalized Land use’ map on page 18, nor does it address the specific recommendations within page 23 for this specific location.

“While staff agrees that the Westside Plan is more advisory than regulatory since many of the provisions are recommendations, the Plan was still adopted by ordinance. The ordinance language requires staff to ‘exercise our respective functions and powers in a manner consistent with the Westside Plan.’ Staff’s determination is the current proposal is not consistent with the land use recommendations of the Westside Plan, nor is it consistent with the compatibility recommendations. Therefore, Planning staff at this time does not support the application as proposed. The applicant may move forward with this application with a recommendation of denial to Planning Commission, after all pending comments have been addressed, or the applicant can make changes to the proposal in order to be more consistent with the recommendations of the Westside Plan and re-submit for a subsequent review.”

Then, on March 3, the city notified neighbors in an email that the project is, at least temporarily, dead: “Staff has been made aware that the current proposal, to include the zone change, concept plan, and vacation of right-of-way, has been withdrawn by the applicant.” A neighborhood meeting planned for that day was canceled.




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