According to Farmington city planner David Petersen, the new zone was proposed to serve as a transition zone between commercial or neighborhood mixed-use zones and residential areas.
The minimum size of a PO Zone would be five acres. The minimum could be reduced to three acres if the zone abuts a business park, commercial, commercial highway, commercial recreation, light manufacturing and business, commercial mixed-use and/or neighborhood mixed-use zone.
Although the Pilcher property is, approximately, an acre in size, the addition of some adjoining UDOT property met the size limit. Department of Transportation officials had earlier agreed to the proposal.
The zone text is very specific in uses permitted -- medical, health therapy and dental offices, administrative and executive offices; professional space for lawyers, engineers and architects; financial planning, investment, planning, real estate, insurance and other general business offices, and marriage and family counseling services.
Conditional uses are limited -- financial institutions, including those with drive-up windows; public and private utility service, administration offices and any development which includes multiple buildings or is proposed on a parcel which is more than one acre in size.
The ordinance also includes height standards, limiting buildings or structures to 30 feet. No flat roofs are permitted.
But opponents found fault with these and other portions of the text.
Doreen Olsen felt that with all the changes, North Main Street would have to be widened "for safety's sake," adding "it's folly to allow this office/commercial use."
Roy Rencher echoed Olsen's comments, but added questions about business hours at the facility and types of exterior lighting that might be installed.
Patricia Anderson targeted the 30-foot maximum height restriction, the 20-foot minimum distance between the building and an adjoining home, and the requirements for landscaping.
Sharon Treu listed a number of objections, asserting there were no signage restrictions and no limit on hours for exterior lighting. She took exception to the inclusion of counseling services as a conditional use and stated the three-foot-high berm bordering the parking lot was not high enough to screen cars.
But she saved her most powerful broadside for later, when the discussion changed from the zone text to that concerning application of the new zone to the Pilcher and UDOT property.
"You left the document intact after all the items that were mentioned," Treu said. "I don't think we're there yet. If something is allowed in a zone someone will do it and you can't do anything about it. You simply haven't done enough work on this."
David Potter, who owns property across the street from Pilcher's was the only resident speaking in favor. He felt the text was "well thought out."
"I commend you on your wisdom," he said. "The committee has formed a nice project that will help the city. I don't feel traffic will be a significant problem and this takes care of a problem parcel -- the UDOT property."
Among members of the commission, only Kevin Poff raised any substantial concerns. After mentioning some misgivings about the maximum building height, he launched into a detailed tasking of the minimum district size limits.
"Would five or three acres be too large for a zone that is supposed to be applicable to the entire city?" he said. "What about parcels of a smaller size -- one acre or three quarters of an acre?"
If the zone did not apply to smaller parcels, Poff said, then it is simply a case of spot zoning to solve a particular problem in a particular place.
Poff later voted no on both the zone text and the amending of the general plan.