Steering committee helps to guide the look of Millcreek by reviewing, updating codesNov 01, 2022 08:17PM ● By Jolene Croasmun
Townhomes landscaped with rooftop gardens that were on the steering committee's July tour in Millcreek. (Courtesy of Joe Moss/Logan Simpson)
By Jolene Croasmun | [email protected]
Millcreek has contracted with the firm Logan Simpson to assist with the overhauling of building codes for the city. Logan Simpson is a firm that works in many areas which include community planning and landscape architecture. Joe Moss, planner at Logan Simpson, put together the steering committee and stated that, “The steering committee is an important component of the code process. We use it as a sounding board for what the larger community would like to see.”
The steering committee is made up of residents, stakeholders, local developers, members of the community councils, representatives from the planning commission and a team of Logan Simpson associates. “The broad mix is intended to make sure the new code is improved for all users, making a code that is easier to both administer and use,” Moss said.
Not all members of the steering committee are well versed in the zoning and subdivision codes, but they all have different levels of interest in the community.
Millcreek was incorporated in 2016. The zoning and subdivision codes adopted by Millcreek were from Salt Lake County. Many of these codes need modernizing to help Millcreek reach the goals of the general plan adopted in 2019. The project was named, The Millcreek Together Code Update.
Most of Millcreek is built out so new development is primarily infill development. These projects will require more ingenuity than traditional sites. Many community members identified the need for additional flexibility in the code in order to best fulfill the new city’s vision.
Moss stated that by bringing “questions and decisions before the committee throughout the process” this gives the group an opportunity to be “ambassadors of the project for the rest of the community.”
John M. Janson of Planning Solutions and a consultant on this project said, “The guidance from a diverse group of interested citizens, developers and elected and appointed officials is important to this process. The intent is to update some very old ordinances that we inherited from the county. If you have not updated your ordinances after going through a general plan process, then nothing really changes.”
The project is taking several steps in this process which includes listening to the community and understanding what the people feel works and is not working with the current code. One goal is to make the code user friendly and to write it in a language that is easily defined. Suggestions are taken into consideration for the new code that reflects Millcreek’s future vision.
Interviews with Millcreek residents were held and a consistent theme that was important to many was health and the environment. Protecting wildlife habitats, developing walking trails to reduce car dependency and creating more open green space for recreation were common themes.
Access to community amenities and well-planned and aesthetically pleasing gathering places were also reoccurring themes.
This past July, the steering committee toured 16 sites in Millcreek that included mixed-use buildings, attached single-family residences, multifamily units, commercial spaces and the new Millcreek Common. This three-hour tour was used to evaluate and understand code concerns for existing structures that were built in recent years and recently approved projects under construction.
There were discussions of roof pitch, green space, architectural designs, landscaping and building materials. The group provided helpful feedback.
Questions and concerns were raised by the steering committee members that were present. Some comments heard on the tour were: “These apartments look like storage units” and “These townhouse units need a better storm runoff retention ditch” and even a few “What were they thinking” questions in regard to underground parking for residents.
There were many approving comments on newly constructed multifamily units that had larger windows, decks, well-developed green space and had parking areas that made sense.
The second part of the process is to review the existing code and look for inconsistencies, make sure they are state law compliant, look for areas of improvement, and to identify how future goals fit into the current code.
Along with the steering committee, public outreach methods have included social media, newsletters, interviews with stakeholders, online questionnaires and a website.
“We currently have a survey up on the project website and will continue to reach out to the public at each step of the drafting and adoption process,” Moss said. To view updates on the project or to read more about the Millcreek Together Code Update, visit www.millcreek.us/466/Zoning-Code-Update. The survey was up until mid-October.
Finally a draft will be reviewed by the steering committee, planning committee, city council and the public. The final ordinances and adoption of the codes are projected to be completed by the summer of 2023.