Olympia Hills Development Gains Preliminary Approval From Salt Lake County Council
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Olympia Hills took a major step toward becoming reality Tuesday after the Salt Lake County Council gave preliminary approval to the massive, master-planned development.
Council members voted in favor, 6 to 3, while acknowledging they were procedurally required to conduct a second vote on March 3.
Even opponents of the development did not expect anything to change for the second vote.
“You’ve got unincorporated county making decisions that really impact the balance of cities that surround it,” said Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs. “That to me is really unfortunate.”
The developers of Olympia Hills, however, were more upbeat.
“We’re excited,” said development team coordinator Cory Shupe. “We feel like it was a win not just for the development team, but for Herriman and South Jordan and Riverton, quite frankly, to have a master-planned community like Olympia Hills.”
The development – which sits west of South Jordan, Riverton and Herriman and is expected to include more than 6,300 residential units built across 933 acres over the next 25 years – had been hotly-contested by its neighbors in recent months.
On Tuesday afternoon, dozens of people wearing red shirts with “no” printed on the front crowded into the Salt Lake County Council chambers to make one more plea before the council’s vote.
“It’s not what the county needs, it’s not what our city needs out there,” said Herriman resident Teddy Hodges. “It’s not going to benefit our way of life, it’s not going to benefit our traffic issues and problems we’re already facing right now.”
Others reiterated oft-raised concerns about the development, including its potential impact on infrastructure.
“The way this is going to impact the citizens of this county is just not right,” said council member Steve DeBry, who provided one of the dissenting votes.
Council member Jim Bradley countered, telling the room that in his career in local politics, this had been the most aggressive planning process that he had seen.
“From what I’ve seen, approaching development in this way makes a heck of a lot more sense than the way we’ve done it in the past, so I will be a ‘yes’ vote,” Bradley said.
After the meeting, council member Aimee Winder Newton said she was frustrated, even though she viewed Olympia Hills as a “well-planned development.”
“It was in the wrong location,” she said. “We can’t have that much density in the far reaches of the valley, and we need it closer to freeways and transit. So, for me, I feel like this is something that is going to be a disappointment for those residents out there that are dealing with lots of traffic and infrastructure concerns.”
Shupe said the developer was already eyeing the next steps in the process, including coming up with a community structure plan.
“Now is the time where we really roll up our sleeves and get the engineers more heavily involved to really start laying out what might be the Phase 1 portion of the project,” Shupe said. “We’ve really tried hard to listen, to ask ourselves the question (residents) are asking: How do we do this the best that we can?”
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