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The City Journals

Taylorville continues to clean up glitches in the city zoning code

Feb 27, 2017 09:46AM ● By Bryan Scott

This for sale sign will soon give way to a new gas station at 2700 West 5400 South in Taylorsville. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
A once-thriving gas station on one of the busiest streets in Taylorsville is proposed to be replaced by a new one about a year after the old one went out of business.
And in the process of working through regulations and business license details with the new owners, city officials also discovered language needed to be cleaned up in their zoning code so nearly every gas station in the city wouldn’t remain in violation.
“We have 13 gas stations in Taylorsville, and all but one of them have been out of compliance since the city revamped the zoning code in 2012,” said Community Development Director Mark McGrath.
But you can cancel the handcuffs and paddy wagons. McGrath says this is just the most recent in a series of technical changes the Taylorsville City Council has had to make in its zoning code, following that massive overhaul five years ago.
“Back when our city was first established in 1996, about 97 percent of our zoning code was adopted from existing Salt Lake County and state of Utah language,” McGrath said. “But by 2012, city officials decided it was time to completely write and adopt our own code. It was a massive project, and since then we’ve had to make a few changes here and there.”
Technically, in the five years since the new zoning ordinance was adopted, nearly all Taylorsville gas stations have been out of compliance because they are within 1,000 feet of another gas station.
“The funny thing is the city didn’t realize there was a problem until we began speaking with developers for the proposed new station (at 2700 West 5400 South),” McGrath said. “That’s actually one of only a few that is not within a thousand feet of another gas station.”
At a recent Taylorsville City Council meeting, the vote was unanimous to amend the necessary land development code sections to clean up the problem.
“We’ve now done away with the minimum distance requirement entirely,” McGrath said. “We considered reducing the minimum required distance between stations to 250 feet. But that would still not allow more than one station at any intersection. So instead, the city will now allow the market to dictate where gas stations go.”
This legalizes existing and new gas stations to locate directly across the street from one another. And if a third investor decides to construct another station in close proximity, they could pursue that as well.  It’s likely Taylorsville commuters don’t care nearly as much about zoning code technicalities as they do about when they can expect to resume buying petroleum on busy 5400 South, just west of the city office.
“The new owners are working on a construction timeline now,” McGrath said. “They will first have to completely remove the existing station and car wash.”
McGrath said the new owners will also be required to install all new state-of-the-art underground gasoline storage tanks, which fully comply with environmental regulations.
The current gas station at that busy intersection went out of business about a year ago. It had been there for more than 20 years, initially constructed in what was then an unincorporated part of Salt Lake County.
“That station was first constructed in the mid-1990s,” McGrath said. “But it was a victim of the economy along with a lot of other businesses back in 2007 and 2008.”
More tweaks to the city zoning code will still probably be necessary, McGrath added.
“When we finally undertook the project to review our entire original zoning code and to revamp all of it, the final document was a couple of inches thick. That’s a lot of pages, and it’s not unusual that some fine tuning has been necessary,”McGrath said.