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Bountiful City Council considers easing age-restricted housing rules
by TOM BUSSELBERG
Feb 15, 2014 | 2742 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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BOUNTIFUL - Is there too much age-restricted housing in Bountiful?

That’s among issues the Bountiful City Council was expected to explore in its meeting Tuesday night, Feb. 11

A new ordinance could be passed that night by the council, which was due to meet after the Davis Clipper went to press.

A six-month moratorium would be imposed prohibiting processing of applications and approvals for age-related housing. It would only apply to those projects not already in process.                                   

Many Bountiful residents want to move from their single-family homes to a senior facility, City Attorney Russell Mahan said.

A significant portion of the city’s 42,000 residents are now reaching the age to make such decisions, having moved to the area from the 1960s to the 1980s, he said.

“I think it’s reasonable to say Bountiful is more than carrying its share in this type of housing, while surrounding cities have little to none,” Mahan said.

Fifteen such complexes are in Bountiful and 12 in the rest of Davis County

Current zoning allows for a “density bonus” for age-related units. That means more and smaller units may be built into a project. The general plan also calls for more of them to be built in the future, he said.

“This may work for now, but in the future this Baby Boomer population bulge will end, and a different age distribution will occur,” Mahan said.

There may end up being too many such units, and businesses operating them may no longer be able to sustain so many apartments. That could lead to requests or even bankruptcy-mandated court orders, that such housing be opened up to all ages, he continued.

“Then we would have a glut of dense, very small, open-to-all units for rent or sale,” Mahan said.

That could pose a problem for law enforcement, said Bountiful Police Chief Tom Ross.

“If you do an analysis of Baby Boomers and Millenials, their housing needs are different. That has to be a factor. We need a moratorium,” said City Councilwoman Beth Holbrook.

Bringing the issue forward now is a request for a 140-unit age-restricted facility sought south and west of Meadowbrook Elementary, on the city’s northwest side.

ALM & Associates is seeking to develop 5.3 acres at 430 W. 400 North. 

“The city has hit a legal problem with their proposal,” Mahan said. That’s because some of the ground the developer is including for development is currently considered as flood plain  not desirable for construction.

“We should have approval based on current realities, not a future configuration” based on a large portion of ground being designated as flood plain, he said.

One-third of the proposed ground is what is now classified as flood plain.

“Could the ordinance be written so the council would have to approve age-restricted applications?” asked Councilman John Marc Knight in a council retreat last week.

“It’s almost an invitation to build as many cubicles as you can. This is the first time in my six years on the council that we’ve talked about this,” he said.

“I hope we can shape housing and not have an over-abundance,” said Councilman Richard Higginson.

City Manager Gary Hill said any changes to the ordinance won’t apply to that application, since it is already in process.

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