LOCAL NEWS

Coalville Group Gathers Enough Signatures For Land Rezoning Referendum

Feb 19, 2020, 10:44 PM | Updated: Feb 23, 2020, 9:49 am

COALVILLE, Utah – A grassroots group gathered enough signatures to put a city council vote on rezoning some land to a ballot vote in Summit County.

The rezoned land would have allowed for a nearly 700-unit housing development, with 570 high-end luxury homes and 130 rentals.

Coalville has always been a place where things don’t seem to be in such a rush. The town had less than 1,400 residents in the 2010 census.

“I think this little town is so charming,” said Lynn Wood, who has a place just off Main Street.

Like many people in the small town, Wood loves its small-town feel.

“People come here and they just want to drink in the atmosphere that’s here,” she said. “It’s special.”

That’s also why Wood started the group Coalville For Responsible Growth.

She was worried the luxury housing development would change the character of Coalville.

“It’s too much growth all at once. Let’s keep it authentic,” said Wood.

The group recently got enough signatures to force a referendum on the Coalville City Council’s December vote to rezone the land.

Rezoning the land would have allowed for the development.

“I think people were discouraged,” said Wood. “They felt like they weren’t being heard. We tried to say, ‘Your voice mattered.’ I don’t think they believed us, but I think they believe us now. I’m really excited about that.”

The Wohali development would be built on the opposite side of Interstate 80, where Coalville is located. In most places, the mountain would keep the development from being seen in town.

Jim Boyden’s family has owned that land for generations.

They’re from Coalville, well known in town, and although he understands the concerns, Boyden said he also cares for Coalville’s future.

“We’d like to develop it,” he said.

Boyden estimated the development would bring in roughly $10 million a year in new taxes to the area, and would help Coalville prosper.

“I love Coalville and my family wants to leave a good legacy here, but I think people are afraid of change,” said Boyden. “I think there’s a fear that we’ll come and run roughshod over the community and take advantage of a community that hasn’t ever seen something like this before. That’s certainly not what we’re going to do.”

Boyden said if allowed to go forward, the Wohali development would grow at about the rate Coalville is already growing – roughly 20-25 homes a year.

The full development would take decades to fill out.

“We would grow at a slow pace,” said Boyden. “We annexed the land into Coalville instead of Summit County because we wanted the tax revenue to go to Coalville.”

However, he said he was concerned his family’s two years’ worth of work with the city could be for nothing.

The referendum was just the latest in Utah, with the most recent being the state sales tax proposal.

The success of the grassroots efforts could be a sign that voters want more of a say about certain issues.

“It’s given the taxpayers an opportunity to vote and to have their opinions heard,” said Sheldon Smith, Coalville’s city attorney.

Smith said he is in favor of voters making their choice known, but worried referendums on all sorts of issues statewide can make it difficult to get anything approved.

“I think that it has maybe gone beyond what was intended,” said Smith.

Wood agreed, saying referendums should only be used when necessary.

“A referendum should only be used, I think, in really extreme circumstances. It’s a hard road. It’s not easy to gather all the signatures as a grassroots effort,” said Wood. “It should be hard. We don’t want to rule by the masses, but when there’s a decision that clearly isn’t the majority, then there should be a method to challenge it.”

If voters overturn the zoning, there is a Plan B.

Boyden said he could develop roughly 120 homes, with about 300 rentals, on property that wouldn’t need to be re-zoned.

However, he said a smaller development would mean less tax revenue for Coalville.

“With a reduction in density is a reduction in benefit for the community, and the school district, and the fire department,” said Boyden.

Voters will make that decision this coming June.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

...
Ashley Moser

UDOT crews catch skiers in backcountry area closed for avalanche work

UDOT is urging everyone to obey backcountry closures after they caught two skiers in an area they shouldn’t have been.
23 hours ago
Representatives from Utah tribes show support for HB40, a bill patterned after the federal Indian C...
Sydnee Gonzalez

Tribes call for Utah legislators to pass bill to protect Native children

Tribal leaders gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday to call on Utah legislators to pass HB40, which protects Native American children from unnecessary removal from families and tribes.
23 hours ago
Utah State University students (mostly) bundled up against the cold weather. (KSL-TV's Mike Anderso...
Mike Anderson

Logan residents persevere through the second day of the winter chill

Logan residents push through the frigid weather as schools and businesses start late to help fight against the cold mornings.
23 hours ago
Peter Sinks from Chopper 5...
Katija Stjepovic

Experiencing 62 degrees below zero at Peter Sinks

Tuesday marked another day of arctic temperatures in Utah with some areas even colder than Monday.
23 hours ago
(Winston Armani)...
Alex Cabrero

Metro Gang Unit asking Legislature for money to buy tattoo removal machine

Tuesday morning, Nick Godfrey didn't try to hide any of his tattoos. He wanted people to look, and listen, and know that gang life is now part of his past.
23 hours ago
(Dan Rascon/KSL TV)...
Dan Rascon

Alleged fraud committed by top leaders at Layton Christian Academy

Church leaders and teachers at Layton Christian Academy are in tears over an alleged “massive fraud” operation at their school possibly involving millions of dollars.  
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Coalville Group Gathers Enough Signatures For Land Rezoning Referendum