Skip to main content

Will Logan land be ‘nibbled to death by ducks’?

By Matilyn Mortensen | Feb. 22, 2017

Rezoning land in the Cliffside area of Logan will encourage housing stability, city leaders believe, but likely will also contribute to urban sprawl in Cache Valley.

The city council voted Tuesday to rezone approximately 65 acres of land in Logan, shifting lot sizes from six houses per acre to four houses per acre.

Russ Holley, the Logan city senior planner, said the rezone is “not a big deal” because both designations are for single family homes.

“It’s not like you’re going from residential to commercial, or residential to industrial,” Holley said. “Those kinds of drastic zone changes tend to be very impactful. This is a very minimal change.”

The intent of the rezoning is so future development will match already existing neighborhoods.

The Cliffside area was zoned for higher density a few years ago as part of the Envision Cache County plan. The goal of the plan is to “keep the city, city and the country, country.” This means preventing urban sprawl to preserve agricultural lands in not only Logan, but all the cities in Cache County.

However the higher density would create a building inconsistency in certain neighborhoods, said Holly Daines, a Logan city council member. Daines said this is upsetting to the residents of the affected areas because they feel it changes the character of their neighborhoods.

Larger lot sizes will not only match already developed areas, but also allow people to build larger homes, which may encourage them to stay in Logan longer, counselors argued.

“We want to make housing in Logan attractive for single family residences so that families will build in Logan, buy in Logan, live in Logan and stay in Logan,” said Herm Olsen, a Logan city council member, “which will strengthen our schools, make us less of a transient community, and provide the benefits of normal growing up experiences for families with children.”

Olsen said although he supports these outcomes, increased lot size will create urban sprawl, a concern for him because it contradicts the Envision Cache County plan.

In the council meeting on Feb. 7, Olsen was the only council member who vocally expressed concern over the rezoning. He compared urban sprawl to “being nibbled to death by ducks.”

“The problem is that every time a municipality takes that position,” Olsen said, “we are contributing to the very urban sprawl we all rejected years ago. And so decision after decision, choice by choice, we nibble ourselves to death by each incremental little small bite.”