City council makes progress towards a vote on Mountain Ridge development
Jan 15, 2020 10:48AM
By Justin Adams
The current site plan for the Mountain Ridge Development. (Via Herriman City)
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
A proposed residential development is one step closer to becoming reality after it was forwarded on to the Herriman City Council by the Planning Commission with a positive recommendation late last year, albeit with a list of requirements. Now it’s the City Council’s job to deliberate and ultimately make a final decision on whether it will be approved.
The project, known as the Mountain Ridge development, would be placed to the north and east of the new high school of the same name. The land in question, totaling about 105 acres, is owned by Suburban Land Reserve, the corporate real estate arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The current site plan being proposed by the development company Edge Homes would include 546 total units, a significant reduction from the 750 units that was initially presented in earlier drafts (and drew criticism from nearby residents who felt the area already has too much high-density housing). The developer also agreed to remove condominiums from the project, opting instead for a mix of single-family homes and townhomes.
However, for the development to go through it will require the approval of the City Council because 75 acres of the land in question is currently zoned for agricultural use. Further complicating matters is the fact that the city’s General Plan envisioned the area to be used for low-density residential (1.8 to 2.5 dwelling units per acre) as well as commercial. So approval of the project would require not only a rezone but an update to the city’s General Plan.
In determining whether or not to approve the project, there are a number of issues which the City Council is considering.
Many Herriman residents fiercely oppose the addition of any new residential development, arguing that the increased population would add more traffic to already-crowded roads in the southwest part of the valley. During a January 8 city council work meeting, Councilman Steve Shields said he felt he was elected by his constituents with a clear directive to oppose density as much as possible.
However, even if the council denied the request to allow more density, the developer could potentially build up to 450 units based on the density allowed under the current General Plan. The Council must decide whether allowing an additional 96 units is a price worth paying for certain benefits and opportunities being offered by the developer.
The portion of the project which has been designated for commercial development under the city’s General Plan sits at the corner of Mountain View Corridor and (yet to be built) 13800 South which separates Herriman and Riverton. Herriman’s elected officials believe that this is an invaluable piece of commercially developable property in a city that’s hurting for retail-commercial to balance out its residential development. (Cities receive more tax revenue from commercial property than residential.) So the fact that early drafts of the Mountain Ridge Development called for housing to be built on top of this land set aside for commercial development seemed to make the project a non-starter for some city council members.
The dilemma for the city is that while they would like to see commercial development happen in that area, the land that fronts Mountain View Corridor is still owned by SLR and the Jordan School District who could potentially build new church buildings and schools there, limiting the possibility of commercial development.
However, in its most recent proposal, SLR has agreed to make an attempt at finding a suitable commercial use for this portion of the development in order to satisfy the city. While the details are still being worked out, the agreement would give the city and the landowner five years to find a developer willing to come in and do a commercial project. (This could also necessitate a land-swap with the Jordan School District, which needs land in the area to construct a new middle school.)
If however, after five years, no such developer has been found, the landowner would be allowed to build residential on the property at a density of 8 units per acre, which would add about 100 additional units to the total development.
Another benefit that the city stands to receive if they approve the Mountain Ridge project is that the developer has agreed to provide an easement for a drainage pipe that would run along the Welby Jacobs Canal (the development’s eastern border).
It’s a needed piece of stormwater infrastructure for the city because there isn’t currently an outlet so water accumulates in various retention ponds in the Rosecrest area. This results in some of the open space being unusable and may create potential health and safety concerns.
The construction of the drainage pipe would cost an estimated $700,000, with an estimated $400,000 to $1.5 million to obtain the necessary right-of-way, so the developer’s offer to pick up that tab is a contributing factor for the council’s decision.
During the Jan. 8 work meeting, a majority of the City Council made it clear that they still have unresolved questions about the proposed development, so there will be at least one more City Council meeting in which the project will be discussed in a work meeting without the possibility of it actually coming to a vote. If at the next work meeting (Jan. 22), the Council decides they’re ready to take a final vote at the following council meeting, that would occur on Feb. 12.