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Commission recommends denial of rezoning

Though the proposed proffer amount went up and the density of the development went down, the Planning Commission voted unanimously against a rezoning request from the developer of Foxfield Meadows off of Pitchkettle Road.

The applicant, Greg Knapp of NVR Inc., had previously been approved to build an apartment building with 114 units in the Foxfield Meadows subdivision. Knapp’s rezoning request called for a change in the approved use and density of the development to 88 single-family detached units on the nearly 20-acre property.

He adjusted his proffer to account for students who would go to Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, which, at 568 students, is 70 students over capacity, with the cost per student being $33,125, according to the staff report.

For the 88 units, Knapp has proffered $3,887 for each unit built once a certificate of occupancy is issued, which would mean $19,003.11 per student. The previous proffer was $1,944 per unit.

But while he increased the proffer amount per student, he eliminated proffers on design standards, improvements already made and standards for lots and facilities adjacent to Westhaven Lakes, which borders the eastern portion of the property.

Knapp added a new proffer to limit the size of the proposed development to no more than 88 single-family detached units.

The staff report recommended denial of the rezoning request, citing its inconsistency with adopted city plans and policies, the development would not meet recommended densities, not be compatible with the current density, design or layout of the existing housing, and that the voluntary proffers do not mitigate the projected impact of the development.

Whitney Saunders, an attorney representing Knapp in the rezoning request, said three things are unusual about the rezoning request — reducing density, reducing impact on schools and increasing funding.

“We have an unusual request before you at this time,” Saunders said. “We’re going to ask you to reduce the density. We’re asking to reduce the impact on the schools, and we’re telling you that we’re going to increase the funding which is available to the schools over that which is in existence at this point in time, and which is in the proffers for this property.”

Saunders said no one objected to the proposal at a previous, sparsely attended public meeting about the rezoning.

Commissioners, including Arthur Singleton, objected to the lack of proffers for the design of the development.

“In essence, you didn’t give us anything,” Singleton said. “You’re asking us to give you a blank check in reference to what will be built on this property.”

Knapp, in response, said he planned to use building materials that would complement the neighborhood to the south of the proposed development, and he said the streets in the development would be private, with private utilities. As a result, there will be a homeowners’ association that will perform all the maintenance on the property.

Commission Chairman Howard Benton noted that there is a lack of definition in what’s going to be included with the proposed rezoning.

Commissioner Johnnie Edwards asked why the proposed designs were not included in the proposal or proffered.

“They wanted as much flexibility as they possibly could have in the design for the buildings,” Saunders said.