"The same floor plan and elevation may not be used within any grouping of 10 lots as illustrated below." Those 19 words in a 192-page document are causing some consternation in Springville, Utah, which last summer adopted a new zoning code. This design guideline applies specifically to a 1,600-acre part of town called the Westfields.
"We wanted to ensure a higher level of variation with the homes," says Carl Morgan, a Springville city planner. "Generally, I think the market's just not going to provide that level of variation on its own."
Builders, not surprisingly, are chafing at this new requirement. "My answer is that I can't do it," says Michael Brodsky, owner and chairman of the Hamlet Cos., a Murray, Utah-based builder with plans to develop part of the Westfields. "In a subdivision you typically have two or three top-selling homes with a range of other houses. Now, I'm being forced to go out and find at least one or possibly two other builders to buy lots from me in the community."
Morgan cautions that city planners will be "refining" the code as they go forward. "The variations in the building elevations and the floor plans are something that we're going to have to keep track of house by house throughout the subdivision," says Morgan. "It's one thing to do this on paper, but the real test is whether this is something we have the resources to keep up with."