BY REBECCA PALMER
BOUNTIFUL - A city council vote on a zone change means that the old Hostess store on 2110 South Orchard Lane will stay.
But its sagging roof and small size mean it can’t be used for much, said owner Sharm Smoot, of Smoot Construction. He wanted to demolish that building and the one next door to build apartment buildings totaling about 30 units. He planned to leave in place older apartment units tucked behind the existing building.
After more than an hour of discussion and a public hearing, the council voted to deny the zone change Smoot wanted.
Smoot asked to change the property from commercial zoning to residential-19 zoning, meaning up to 19 apartments per acre would be allowed.
The situation was complicated by the fact that the two acres Smoot owns used to be two properties with different zoning designations. Most of his property is already zoned for apartments, but the third of an acre on which the old Hostess building sits is not.
The council’s denial went against the recommendation it received from the planning commission, which has studied the issue for months.
Smoot, who was almost ready to file further documents for the planned apartments with the city, was surprised.
“They’re just saying no to having anything done with that Hostess building,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of options there; it really hurts what is really possible. It’s a real eyesore there.”
Neighbors living near the parcel were relieved. They wanted to save just one little commercial parcel to stem the tide of apartments.
All the young families are already leaving, and if Bountiful isn’t careful, it will become nothing more than an extension of Salt Lake City or Woods Cross, said young mom Teresa Nielsen.
“The apartments are suffocating this historic part of Bountiful,” she said, tearing up.
The council’s denial of the rezone means that it can’t again consider the issue for one year.
Meanwhile, Smoot says he can’t go forward with the plans he had made, that selling the commercial parcel isn’t an option and that the biggest building he could construct for commercial use would be just 1,000 square feet.