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Council authorizes rezone to commercial property

March 14, 2024

By: Katherine Trowbridge

The Connell City Council held a closed record hearing to consider approval of a rezone for 66.67 acres of property at the north end of Connell.

The request is for a rezone from urban reserve to commercial general of property located between Coyote Ridge Correctional Center and Highway 395. Open record hearing was heard by the planning commission with the applicant, staff, and one member of the public speaking on the issue.

Despite the advice of AHBL and City Administrator Cathleen Koch, the planning commission moved the item forward to council with a recommendation for approval.

In the staff report AHBL, represented by Emily, expressed their recommendation would be to deny, stating she spoke on behalf of and as an extension of the city staff. She stated that staff sees the rezone as “premature” going on to highlight the lack of water and sewer availability to the site.

Amy Grey, realtor representing the applicant Karl Singh, stated that their end goal is to ask for this change so that this land can be put into its highest and best use. She went on to state that they would like to put it up for sale and market the land in a way that benefits the community. She saw that someone would want to come and put something in that would need a lot of acreage but not take a lot of water. Grey did state that the water line goes up to the north corner of the property. “Let’s find somebody who wants to come in and help build it out. It seems like a win win. Hopefully then they’ll be paying taxes. You know that would be a great thing, right?”, she said, adding that Singh wants to put it up for sale and in the process work with the city to put it out there upfront as to what is needed in order to set the buyer up for success. Grey sees that there will be a lot of building in the next five years.

Council questions; including one from Shelly Harper on Ford Road, which at this time is not accessible as a city street. Harper’s question was if there was any way the city could build that out as an actual road to support this property. It is complicated with easements and various land owners involved, more research would be needed.

Burl Booker stated that he didn’t see it developing into one 60 acre parcel but several 10 to 15 segment parcels.

Council member Joe Escalera agreed with Booker that “it’s a hot spot right off of 395”.

Emily stated AHBL gets all their water information from Anderson Perry, the city’s engineering firm who provided information regarding water/sewer for this site. City Administrator Cathleen

Koch also spoke to this stating that she shared all this information with the applicant going on to explain, “We don’t have all the details because we don’t have plans to build up there anytime in the near future. So, until we’re ready to add that to our water/sewer study which we are doing now…there was no intention to look at that area for the next 20 years and that was shared with the applicant, and the 2016 study that was done (the most recent study).”

Koch also stated water rights are not an issue. However, capacity is committed to the development at Summit Point Estates for the next five years as long as the preliminary plat is in place.

Council member Pat Barrera responded to Koch stating, “Knowing that we were looking at Summit Estates up there it makes sense to me that we would be looking at future development in that area. I feel it is best to look at water development in that area - Something we should be looking at sooner than 20 years.”

Council member Joe Escalera stated that holding it for future development seemed odd as future development is here.

Council member Preston Hart felt that it would bring more people into town.

Overall, the council was in agreement to the benefits of this property and the crossroads to Hwy 395 as a plus for that area and what could be built there.

Council member Barrera moved to approve the rezone, Council member Escalera seconded the motion. The rezone passed unanimously.

The next council meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 20 at 6 pm. and is open to the public.

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