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Decision allows for construction of apartments on Sandy Boulevard near mobile home park

The Fairview City Council overturned a Planning Commission's decision, which gives a developer the green light to build a mixed-use apartment development on Sandy Boulevard near Quail Hollow mobile home park.

Fairview Senior Planner Sarah Selden said the Planning Commission initially denied the land-use application from Fairview Properties One LLC for Fairview Villa Apartments because the commission found the proposal did not include enough of a commercial area to qualify as a mixed-use development.

Les Bick, president of First West Realty, the real estate company in charge of the development, disagreed and stated during an appeal hearing to City Council on Wednesday, Sept. 19, that the code is vague.

"We wanted to take a property that is vacant now, and convert that property into a much-needed residential property with some office (space)," Bick said. "Nowhere in the code is there a ratio to give us any guidelines, and yet we are expected to abide by that code."

The development is on a .78 acre parcel at 20922 N.E. Sandy Blvd., and the developer planned to use 400 square feet as retail space on the first floor along with 200 square feet for the apartment's leasing offices. In the four-story structure, the top three stories are planned as apartments.

The planning commission found that 400 square feet of commercial use was not a significant commercial component in an approximately 60,000 square foot development, and that the 200 square feet for the apartment office was not a retail use, but an accessory dwelling for the apartment complex.

Fairview City Councilors Brian Cooper and Keith Kudrna voiced concerns that the development didn't meet the intent of the code, and they voted to uphold the Planning Commission's decision

"It is commission's obligation to abide by the code; however, I think anyone who has dealt with development code knows that it's not a finite instrument. It's a very fluid instrument. It's open for interpretation," Kudrna said.

Cooper said the code for mixed-use developments is intended for the majority to be used for commercial operations, and a much smaller portion should be used for residential.

"This is clearly housing as primary, and commercial barely being secondary," Cooper said.

Mayor Ted Tosterud said the standard for mixed-use development needs updating.

"There needs to have some code put in here to make it viable for everybody that comes behind them, and right now we don't have that," he said. "So (right now) council (was) caught between a little rock and a hard place."

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