In February, Hamlet Development proposed a medium-density condo development for a large stretch of property on the South side of the street just past Viewmont Elementary. My daughter Emilia and my son William will go to Viewmont next year, so this development directly impacts me. Councilmember Cox and Mike Brodsky (who owns Hamlet Development) hosted a town hall meeting, where a number of citizens expressed concerns about the density of the development compared to the general plan.
The zone the developer is asking for is R-15, meaning that 15 units per acre are permitted. The original plan proposed was for about 90 units, so more like 10 per acre. After hearing from the citizens, Mr. Brodsky went back to the drawing board and has a new proposal of 75 units, a density of 9.4 per acre. The general plan, which is a guideline based on predictions of how this community would develop, calls for eight homes per acre. There are few ways to push a developer to stick to a site plan, however, and I think residents’ concerns about deviations from this plan after the zone is granted are legitimate.
I hear citizens’ concerns about this development. The R-15 zone is designed to support medium-density attached condos, and there are definitely proposals that would conform with the zone, but be way outside what is appropriate for the community. The concerns raised at the town meeting of neighborhood feel, traffic, parking, and a park that lacked recreational value were fair. Hamlet Development’s re-imagining of the site plan has put single family homes front and center, added three parking stalls per unit, created more usable green space, and reduced the overall density. Development does have upsides- the current structures hurt the desirability of the neighborhood, the environmental dangers are real, and nearby businesses will thrive with more local residents nearby. Murray should have a zoning ordinance that lets us carefully balance these concerns and move forward with confidence.
Dale will be casting the vote on this rezone, but it will be up to the next city council to protect the community character for future developments.
As your councilmember, I will work closely with neighbors and developers to create smart development plans that work for everyone.
Our community benefits from encouraging developers to infill challenging parcels- but those incentives need to be conservative, carefully thought out, and designed to protect the character of the community.
When elected, I will work for zoning that supports smart development. We can protect the character of the neighborhoods we’ve worked so carefully to build while still inviting investment in our community.