The “Life Cycle Zone”

On April 24, 2018 the Providence City Council approved a new zone to be added to the Providence Code: the “Life Cycle Residential” zone. This zone is defined as a planned district which may include single family detached houses, single-family attached houses (i.e., town homes), “active adult” twin homes and apartments. This new zone is defined as a “rezone” which may be superimposed upon any already existing zone in Providence, such as the single-family residential zone. This means that an already existing neighborhood which is clearly specified on the zoning map as being in a single-family residential zone can be rezoned to the new Life Cycle Residential zone for the purpose of introducing high-density zoning into an already developed single-family neighborhood.

The Annexation Issue

Concurrently, a real estate development company has requested annexation into Providence City of a 19-acre parcel which is presently zoned “Agricultural”. This parcel lies between the north boundary of Providence City and the south boundary of River Heights, with an east boundary of 300 East in Providence ( =1000 East in River Heights). The parcel lies between two established single-family neighborhoods: one in Providence and the other in River Heights.

Th applicant for annexation of the parcel has also submitted a “concept plan” to Providence CIty which would somewhat inform or predict the ultimate use of the parcel after annexation. This concept plan, complete with a colorful plat map, shows that the applicant plans to build detached single-family houses, town homes and “active adult ” twin homes on the his acreage after it is annexed into Providence.

Ignoring Citizens’ Rights

It is clear that the Constitutionally protected right to the use and enjoyment of a citizen’s private property will be challenged very directly if this new Life Cycle Residential zone is chosen for the annexation parcel’s development. These Constitutional rights will be ignored by any decision which imposes high-density zoning on single-family neighborhoods. Additionally, as is true of any addition of residential expansion to a town,  it will cost the taxpayers considerable money by definition, due to the taxpayers’ obligation to provide services such as water, sewer, snow removal, street maintenance, police protection and fire protection. The added traffic which will result from the application of this new zone to that property will bring markedly increased traffic, traffic gridlock and  street parking problems to the surrounding residential areas in both towns and to Providence generally. School crowding also will be an unavoidable result to both River Heights and Providence schools– which are both already in need of more classrooms for the existing school enrollment. No increased road infrastructure will likely precede such a decision to apply the new zone because there seems to be a great deal os haste involved. Two bridges are needed at either end of Spring Creek Parkway for any such development, and the taxpayers will be expected to pay for these bridges.


Providence Mayor Drew’s Cheerleading for Developers – Newspaper

The following from Mayor John Drew was published in the city’s newsletter and appeared as a ‘Guest Commentary’ in the Herald Journal in print and online on April 26, 2018.

About Providence’s new Life Cycle zone

By John Drew, Providence mayor
Apr 26, 2018

Over the past year, Providence city staff and Planning Commission have been working on adding a new land-use zone to our ordinances. This effort has resulted in a fair amount of public discussion and controversy. This new zone was unanimously approved at the Tuesday, April 24 council meeting.

Here is some background and information on this project.

Anticipating the city’s needs is our job

It is the job of city government to plan well in advance for anticipated infrastructure needs. City staff must make an effort to stay on top of proposed legislation, anticipated population growth, housing market trends, land uses, and tax sources. It is a never-ending task that requires much study and a broad range of input sources to adequately plan and have ordinances in place.

We want to make sure we control development rather than development control us. We want to be proactive rather than reactive. We want to have well thought out requirements rather than having developers tell us how they are going to do it. This zone does not designate any particular property. We are adding another tool for a developer when requesting a zone change.

Trends in residential real estate

We have watched the supply of available housing shrink over the past 5 years. As of this writing, there were 196 homes available for sale on the board of realtors listing. In a “normal” year, there are 700 to 1,000 homes on the multiple listing. This isn’t just about “affordable” housing, it’s about “available” as well.

The recent selling prices of homes has continued to grow. Over the past five years, the price per square foot has gone up from $72 to $111, a 55 percent increase. What is the impact on housing prices and affordability? Have paychecks kept up with the rising costs of housing? Yours probably has not.

We have seen prices per acre for raw, undeveloped, unimproved land go from $25,000 to 35, 45, 55, and now in some cases $70,000 over the past five years. We have heard some are holding out for $100,000 an acre. Clearly, the era of inexpensive buildable land is gone.

At the same time, Envision Cache Valley and Envision Utah tells us they expect Cache Valley to double by the year 2050 or sooner. Meanwhile, generational preferences of millennials is toward smaller lots, more convenience.

A recent study on housing trends paints a stark picture of how serious the housing situation is in Utah — The Gardner Policy Institute of The University of Utah, March 2018 study, Housing Prices and the Threat to Affordability.

The Life Cycle Zone concept

For the past year, our planning commission and city staff has been working on updating our general plan which is the genesis of our city ordinances. Much of this Life Cycle ordinance has been driven by and closely considers objectives stated in the general plan. Other Utah cities have a similar ordinance under a title such as, “Mixed Use Residential.”

By our definition, a Life Cycle zone is master planned community with a mix of single family and multi-family structures that blend in with surrounding neighborhoods and includes open spaces, park space, walking paths. The maximum of one style of housing would be 50 percent. Purchase a starter home (townhouse); as family grows and more space is needed, purchase a traditional single-family home. It may also include active senior housing segment. You, your kids and grandkids could (in theory) all could live in the same neighborhood.

Minimums and maximums

The Life Cycle zoning ordinance includes minimums and maximums; lot size, number of dwelling units per acre, dwelling sizes, lot widths, setbacks, structure heights, parking, and green space. It also requires the developer submit a phasing plan that will be incorporated in to a Master Development Agreement which is binding on the land regardless of who owns the property.

Why a separate life cycle zone?

  • Control design of the neighborhood
  • Encourage green space
  • Encourage character compatible with surrounding neighborhoods
  • Provide for changes in housing preference by younger demographic
  • Promote affordable housing options
  • Efficient land use

Residents comments on housing trends, Life Cycle concept

“If we had to buy the house we live in today, we could not afford it.”

“We love Providence and we’d love to see our kids live here too. When will we see new development that our kids and grandkids can afford?”

“I’m part of the problem; I have 4 kids and 15 grandkids. They need a place to live. We’d like to see them here in Providence.”

“By only allowing single family traditional homes, we are pricing our children out of the housing market.”

“Higher density housing creates high crime areas.”

“Townhouse developments are run down after five years and property is poorly maintained.”

“We will see broken down cars and trash.”

“Nothing but renters and transients”

“Not in my neighborhood”


Providence has almost 200 townhomes that by design blend in to traditional residential neighborhoods.

  • Most are occupied by young couples or families and many with a college education and a dual household income.
  • We do not experience more police calls in these areas.
  • Properties are professionally maintained.
  • Housing dollars compete with other rising family costs.

Residents buying these homes are our children, neighbors and friends.

Email Correspondence with Councilman Baldwin

From: Laura and Bob
Subject: Land Annexation
Date: April 10, 2018
To: Councilman Jeff Baldwin

Hello Councilman Baldwin,

Mimi Recker wrote to Mayor Drew about the annexation. He told her the General Plan has already been finalized and adopted.

Even if the Council insists on annexing the land now, the annexation agreement should and could contain some limiting language as to future uses there, rather than a carte blanche for the developer(s). Ideally this would include no multi-family dwellings and no basements in houses where flooding is the norm. It also would include plain language about the developer paying for the bridge and for any transportation upgrades which will be needed to manage the added traffic. (Of course, without the multi-family dwellings, there will not be as much traffic as there will be with them included.)

The “open space” in the plat for Jackson’s subdivision is a joke, and the shortened setbacks are cheap and ridiculous looking. When multi-family zoning is introduced and used, the people tend to be much more transient in comparison to homeowners. They tend toward more litter, more junked tricycles in the yard, more motorcycle noise at very late hours and more yelling and loud music. One thing they do NOT do is take care of “appealing” landscaping. It goes to ruin.

Laura and Bob


From: Councilman Jeff Baldwin
Subject: Land Annexation
Date: April 17, 2018
To: Laura and Bob

Hi Laura and Bob,

The general plan is currently in review by city staff, for some reason the mayor wants the city staff to review it. The city council has not adopted it by vote yet. I made the argument several months ago that we should be working on the general plan and transportation plan before spending time on multi-family or other zones. I have opposed multi-family developments, as well as Roy, without design standards in place to protect the community from trash housing as well as other issues. Providence has no need of more multi-family units! I will continue to oppose these types of developments. We have a beautiful city and there is no reason that we should destroy it with poor developments. As far as the Chugg property and the road across spring creek this has been on the master plan for quite a while and I am currently reviewing the engineering to see what is planned. This information was not distributed to the council for review prior to the last council meeting. That is one reason I requested items 3 and 4 be pulled from the agenda.

You can count on me continuing the fight against multi-family in our city.

Councilman Baldwin


From: Laura
Subject: Land Annexation
Date: April 18, 2018
To: Councilman Jeff Baldwin

Dear Jeff,

Thank you ever so much for this response.

As of last week, it is widely known the Jeff Jackson has now announced he much. prefers not to pay for the bridge. We had the understanding that his willingness and commitment to build the bridge were central to the appeal his project had to the City Council (and even the Mayor). Our impression is that elimination of the developer’s willingness to pay for the bridge is a deal-killer. If the Council proceeds to approve the Jackson development plan without the bridge, this would either mean total traffic gridlock and havoc or having the City build a bridge to suit the needs of a developer (about $300,000?).

So current issues are at least:

  • wetlands presence and the Army Corp statement
  • possible flooding of houses built on the Chugg property (as houses built on both sides of the Spring Creek in that very area do now flood)
  • bridge financing
  • the other bridge (when wilt it be built)
  • inappropriate inclusion of multi-family zone proposals in established single-family neighborhoods a rush to judgement for the convenience of the applicant
  • a showing of acceptance (by Jackson) of the annexation by owners of property adjacent to the Chugg property

May I forward your statement to my Providence Watchdogs email list?

Thanks again.




From: Councilman Jeff Baldwin
Subject: Land Annexation
Date: April 22, 2018
To: Laura and Bob


Sure, you may forward my response to whoever you wish. I stand behind what I say.


Jeff Baldwin