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The City Journals

Planning your city: West Jordan Planning Commission

Sep 09, 2019 01:22PM ● By Erin Dixon

The details of land-use are discussed and confirmed by the Planning Commission, from particular trees to ensuring construction plans are appropriate for the zone. (Image/Pixabay)

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

Who is responsible for the use of the land in your city?

In many cases, it’s the Planning Commission.

This commission is made of a group of volunteers, each receiving a mere $50 for each meeting they participate in.

The West Jordan Planning Commission has seven members: Matt Quinney, Jay Thomas, Trish Hatch, Kelvin Green, Nichole Luthi, Corbin England and Bob Bedont. Some of the city planning staff also attend.

How does an individual get on the commission?

“The only planning commission qualification is that they are a resident of the city,” City Planner Larry Gardner said.

Interested individuals need only apply to the city. 

“When there is a vacancy, or near the end of the term of appointment, the administration office puts out an announcement and asks for interested residents to apply by submitting a resume and letter,” said Julie Davis, executive assistant for Development Services. 

Currently, the members are appointed by the City Council, but in January, the process will change to involve primarily the strong mayor, who can ask for the council’s opinion.  

There are many different types of land-use applications, but for the planning commission projects typically include adoptions to the General Plan, zoning ordinances and reviewing development proposals. It then gives its recommendations to the City Council for their review and approval.

However, the planning commission is not the final decision maker. Gardner explained the commission only has so much leeway in their decision making. 

“The planning commission is an administrative body, and all decisions are based upon compliance with city ordinance and Utah law,” Gardner said. “The planning commission has no discretion to go outside of adopted code and law.” 

On July 16, 2018, the commission reviewed a proposal by someone who wanted to change the zoning of their property, 2973–3055 West Haun Drive, from very low density to low density. This would allow for five houses rather than four. 

There was a public hearing that included comments from several neighbors to the property.

The commission members asked the city planners about the codes for the area and discussed how the change would affect the neighbors, traffic and the future of the adjacent road. 

After lengthy discussion and consideration of the public comments, the change was approved and then sent to the City Council for their review and approval.