The Ammon City Council voted to approve a series of changes that simplified its zoning code and approved an appeal from an upcoming neighborhood development on Thursday.
The modified zoning document took the form of Chapter 37, a table listing what is and isn’t allowed in every zoning district within the city. The district use matrix takes the place of paragraphs of text within most of the zoning descriptions listed in the city zoning document and can easily be shared with residents looking for information about where they live.
“This should keep us from being asked a thousand zoning questions every year,” said city planner Cindy Donovan, who designed the new chapter.
The motion that approved the new chart also dropped the zoning section on residential shopping centers, which Ammon had never used, and modified the way the city planning board calculates how many units are allowed in new developments.
The council also approved a request from the in-development Villas neighborhood to be exempt from a new Ammon ordinance. Earlier this year, the city passed a requirement enforcing a state statute that new developments must be connected to surface water if a source is reasonably close to the land.
Riverbend Management, the company developing the expansion of the Villas neighborhood, asked to be excluded from the new requirement. Ammon had approved its preliminary plat in October and the company estimated that connecting the new 59 homes, some of which already had purchase agreements from potential residents, to the nearest canal would add an additional $350,000 in development cost.
The council voted 3-2 to allow the Villas to be exempted from the required irrigation connection. The councilmen in favor agreed that the distance from the proposed neighborhood to the canal was unreasonably far, while the two opposed worried that any exception would make it easier for upcoming developments to skirt around the requirement.
“I think we should make an exception here. But my problem is what will be done with the other ones?” councilman Craig Tibbitts said.