That’s the plan of Steve Akerlow, of Newport Enterprises Inc. Thanks to Bountiful City Council approval, last week, the home can be torn down and offices built to house an optometrist, and possibly other professionals.
The approval also required amending the Neighborhood Professional Office zone to allow an optometrist, Robert Wilkes, to locate there.
The facility could include two single family home-type buildings that would be connected by a corridor. As allowed in the zone, the buildings could not be more than 1 1/2 stories high, and would include basements.
“This will help that neighborhood considerably,” said City Council member Tom Tolman. “There are old cars there, it’s an eyesore.”
Some of the neighbors didn’t sound as happy at the prospect of an office building, no matter how configured, there.
Neighbor Judy Kinghorn expressed fear many customers would visit the office, which could evolve into more than a single office, creating parking and traffic problems.
“Traffic is horrendous,” she said of the area. This is a big problem,” she said of living adjacent to a dentist and optician, who “use all of my (parking) space.”
Kinghorn also spoke of a former home changed to a hospice, now in “horrible disrepair. It’s not a panacea to turn a home into an office. It seems no way to put pressure on slumlords” to clean their properties up, she said.
“Does this proposal meet the requirements of the master plan?” asked resident Mont Mickelsen. “Would garden style condos meet that requirement? Maybe that should be considered.”
“If you’re trying to keep a neighborhood there ought to be some limits. That opens it up,” said Council member Fred Moss, noting that a potential 6,000 square foot professional office could accommodate 25 parking spaces, which must be built to the back.
Wilkes said that with the expense of land, it is hard to leave a lot of land in grass and landscaping, vs. building or parking lot.
Moss said he’s concerned that the council can approve a zoning change and “then two months later it’s a whole different project,” of previous proposals (not necessarily this one) received by the council.
“To me, neighborhood traffic is a problem,” said Council member Beth Holbrook. “I’m not crazy about this, but you could have five residential units there.”
City Planner Aric Jensen said 50 trips a day are generated for five residences, typically.
He noted that the professional office zone and this proposal appears to follow the previously established city “vision” for the area.
That sees professional offices being built along 500 South between 100 East and Orchard Drive.