Local residents file suit over planning commission decision
In June 2012, the Cottonwood Heights Planning Commission voted four to three to approve a conditional use permit for the Cottonwood Corporate Center Southwest Project. The plans for the project include two office buildings and a two-level parking structure on an 8.86-acre parcel of land located at approximately 2800 E. Cottonwood Parkway.
Although the applicable zoning regulations have been materially unchanged since the Cottonwood Corporate Center was approved by Salt Lake County in the early 1990s (before the city’s 2005 incorporation), residents in the neighboring Mill Hollow neighborhood voiced concern that the plans for the property were too intense with relation to the height of the structures and the proximity of the buildings to residential homes.
The city’s planning commission addressed many of the residents’ concerns by imposing nearly 50 conditions on the developer in order to mitigate the impact of the project, but ultimately concluded that the city could not legally require the developer, Cottonwood Partners, to reduce the height of the buildings or deny the conditional use permit.
“In my opinion, the planning commission should have the right to limit the height of buildings permitted with a conditional use permit due to negative impacts such as aesthetics, noise, light pollution, etc. Unfortunately, case law does not support my opinion,” said Planning Commissioner Lindsay Holt before the vote.
Neighborhood residents appealed the planning commission’s decision to the city’s board of adjustment, saying that the planning commission had decided the matter incorrectly. On Sept. 6, the board of adjustment unanimously upheld the planning commission’s decision.
Residents in the Mill Hollow neighborhood filed a lawsuit in Third District Court on Sept. 20, asking for a review of the planning commission’s decision. The city has answered the complaint, and both parties have stipulated that Cottonwood Partners can join the suit. More information will be posted as the proceedings continue.