Battle brewing over plan to build 5,000 apartments near Thanksgiving Point
LEHI, Utah — A battle is brewing in Lehi over whether a new community with thousands of apartments will be built west of Thanksgiving Point.
Developers are looking to build on mostly farmland and said their plans would cut down on traffic and solve pollution and other environmental problems at the same time.
They believe the answer is to think the way big cities think and create walkable communities with access to mass transit. Additionally, they said studies show driving decreases by 25% to 50% when people live in these communities.
They’ll make their first pitch to the planning commission Thursday night.
“It’s thinking differently than we’ve always thought,” said Andrew Bybee, owner of Stack Real Estate. Bybee says new mixed-use development is the answer Utah County needs to help with housing shortages, traffic jams and pollution.
“The word is out, Utah is a fantastic place to live, work and play,” Bybee said. “There’s no bottling that back up and hiding it from anybody. People are coming.”
Bybee said he and his team have spent five years researching to find a solution in the area near the Utah Transit Authority’s Lehi FrontRunner station. He believes plans that would develop farmland and available space west of Interstate 15 into a community with 5,000 apartments would be what the area needs.
Aaron Bullen ran for city council this year. His race was unsuccessful but, he says he knows what the people of Lehi want.
“People don’t move to Lehi, Utah, to be like New York City,” said Bullen. “They move to Lehi to have a nice heritage and have a little more space. They’re not living in Salt Lake City.”
Bybee believes if people could see the future, they would embrace the proposal. But that’s one of the biggest challenges right now.
“What we’ve built in Utah has been great for the last 150 years but it’s not gonna work for the next 150 years, and that shouldn’t be new news to anybody,” Bybee said.
The city’s planning commission will review the plans Thursday night. It’s also the time for public comment. Bybee believes a silent majority wants this, but others said it’s time to tell the city this is a bad idea.
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