Aug 14, 2022
Several of our objections to the planned R-MF to MR rezone are related to the way city officials have tried to downplay the effects if a zoning change which will significantly densify the City of Hayden.
1. The City’s claimed 8 dwelling per acre limits on MR densities contradicts the zoning regulations
Both residents and city representatives have been misled regarding the maximum allowable densities of Mixed Residential zoning. The following is a written quote from a city employee who is in favor of the rezone. It was addressed to a City Council member who was seeking clarification.
"With respect to the Mixed Residential Zone, the maximum dwellings in the zone is defined under the setback table in 11-2-3 as “Mixed Residential may not be greater than eight dwelling units per acre.” So if you were to look at the chart below, no ADU’s would be allowed in scenarios A, B, C or E . . . . .; “
However, the reference to 11-2-3, which sounds as though it is an ordinance, is really just an informational note regarding assumptions during the planning process. Here is the actual text referred to above. It is not a statute, and it is not enforceable.
"b) During the planning process of the updates to the Comprehensive Plan, Sewer Master Plan, Transportation Master Plan, and Park Master Plan maximum residential density was assumed as follows: 1. Mixed Residential may not be greater than eight dwelling units per acre. 2. Mixed Use and Central Business District may not be greater than twenty 12-dwelling units per acre or 12-15 dwelling units per acre with design standards; . . . .
There is no enforceable statute anywhere in the zoning regulations that limits MR densities to 8 dwellings per acre. In fact, such an ordinance, if it existed would be nonsensical because no such limitations could be enforced on already subdivided, individually owned, sub-acre parcels.
The letter to the Council Member is not an isolated incidence. The 8 dwelling per acre limit has been referenced many times by both planning officials and city representatives in order to assure Hayden residents that such a statutory limit exists when it clearly does not. And confusion regarding this matter still persists. Even today, at least one Hayden council member still insists that MR is limited to 8 dwellings per acre.
2. MR allows for much higher densities than R-MF but their relative densities have been misrepresented.
City officials have consistently mispresented MR zoning as having lower densities than R-MF by emphasizing the fact that R-MF allows for apartments. However R-MF only allows apartments on large parcels, near arterials, and only with a Special Use Permit. There are only a few such structures in all of Hayden, and all are being converted to "Mixed Use" not "Mixed Residential".
So, for Single Family, Duplexes, and Triplexes,—which make up over 95% of the parcels being rezoned—MR densities are clearly and significantly greater than those for R-MF. Of greatest concern are existing single family lots, which under MR zoning could be converted to duplexes or triplexes; and vacant lots, which could be developed with well over 10 dwellings per acre.
This chart allows for direct comparison between R-MF and MR lot sizes and densities.
- All Dwellings per acre values are theoretical maximums that assume sufficient road frontage.
- Zoning regulations now allow 1000 sqft ADU’s on ALL single family parcels regardless of lot size.
- MR does not specify a min lot size for triplexes. It provides for townhomes, but does not specify minimum plat. 9000 sq ft is a realistic minimum for a 3 unit townhome, consistent with MR zoning, although an even smaller minimum lot size may be possible.
It is clear that Hayden Residents have not been adequately informed about the true nature of the R-MF to MR rezone.
The MR zone type was designed with small minimum lot sizes specifically to allow for densification and “infill” of existing residential neighborhoods. It is a zone type that at least theoretically allows standard single family lots of 8250 to be converted to either duplexes or triplexes. This is already being done in many cities. And in the future land use map, many single family neighborhoods in Hayden are “envisioned” as MR.
The right way forward for Hayden is to delay any the rezone of R-MF parcels until serious problems with the Future Land Use Map and 2040 Comp Plan have been resolved, and Hayden residents have been fully informed about the changes their city leaders are making on their behalf.
You can learn more about these issues related to the Hayden Rezone in the following articles:
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Ed DePriest says (Aug 14, 2022):
Can you cite court decisions related to language in codes, criteria, Comprehensive Plans, etc...? I have seen enough evidence that convinces me that if challenged, the eight dwellings per acre would stand up to that challenge.
Teresa Roth says (Aug 14, 2022):
Would love to see the "evidence" Ed. The "limit" as described in the "general note" is clearly not part of the statue and it flatly contradicts the information given in the table above it. If Hayden wants to limit MR density to 8 dwellings per acre it can do that by leaving duplex and triplex minimum lot size the same as R-MF. But it cannot claim there is a density limit that clearly doesn't exits.
Ed DePriest says (Aug 15, 2022):
I have seen the "evidence." It has been disseminated to the council in a confidential format, so I am not at the liberty to publicly disclose. As I said above, I am satisfied that the "evidence" that I have seen demonstrates that if challenged, it would stand up to the challenge.
Teresa Roth says (Aug 20, 2022):
Sorry Ed. It is patently absurd that the city has "secret evidence" that a claim about densiity limits that is not supported by the actual zoning codes could be used to defend these claims. If what you are saying is true, then that can only mean that the entire judicial system is corrupted. The zoning regulations are public, and clearly provide for higher densities. We have requested public clarification and been denied. What the 'heck' is going on in the Hayden City government? Why are "confidential plans" to defend lying to the public being passed about?
Ed DePriest says (Aug 21, 2022):
It's not a "secret." In fact, it is now available for anyone who does their research. In fact, it is available on the Hayden city site. And there are cited court rulings.
Teresa Roth says (Oct 9, 2022):
The Attorney's Brief that Ed refers to has been reprinted with commentary in the "Save Hayden" article linked to below, entitled "Hayden Attorney Responds to Critics". It is a poorly reasoned and blatantly self-contradictory memorandum that was never intended to be presented in a court of law. It was written only to provide "cover" for City Representatives and P & Z commissioners who want to accommodate the densification of residential neighborhoods in Hayden with "plausible deniability". https://savehayden.com/news/hayden-attorney-responds-mr-critics