Developer of Coalville second-home community says amenities like golf course and spa will be open to public
The 700-unit proposed development on Coalville’s west side could significantly change the face of the city.
A gated community of million-dollar second homes with two golf courses and a spa stands in stark contrast to the modest homes that surround Coalville’s main drag, which features a century-old general store, a couple restaurants and not a few for sale signs.
As the project works its way through the planning process, the developers, Wohali Partners, LLC, say they’re responding to public feedback and trying to act as good neighbors.
For starters, they’re getting rid of the gate.
“All of the amenities will be publicly accessible,” Wohali consultant Eric Langvardt told the Coalville City Planning Commission at its Monday meeting. That includes two golf courses and miles of trails. He said that’s unique among what he called the development’s peers, like Promontory, Glenwild and Victory Ranch.
The Planning Commission unanimously voted in favor of the two Wohali-related items on the agenda, suggesting the developer is on the right track and is welcome to begin the next step, submitting a preliminary plan.
Commissioners Tonja Hanson, Isaac Rackliffe and Linda Vernon voted to recommend the City Council rezone the property from its current agricultural zoning and voted to give the green light to Wohali to proceed with filing a preliminary plan. Dusty France and Shoat Roath were absent.
While both items were more advisory than binding, it represented a step forward for the project, as the unanimous vote on the zoning matter will send it to the City Council for the first time since a contentious annexation process in March of 2018.
The City Council has final say on all land-use matters, and the land will not be rezoned until a development agreement is in place, which is many steps away.
Before the nearly 1,800 acres were annexed into the city last year on a 3-2 City Council vote, Coalville’s city limits roughly looked like a vertical rectangle. But now, there’s a roughly equal-sized rectangle sticking out to the west.
The second-home community has the potential to change the city’s identity as much as it has skewed its boundary lines, residents have said. According to preliminary documents, homes would range from $800,000 into the millions. At a contentious 2018 public meeting before the vote to annex the land, residents lamented the potential “Park City-fication” of the area.
At that meeting, resident Kelly Ovard said it’s not the growth that bothers him, but the cost.
“I have no problem putting 500 homes up there in the next few years. But there is no need for them to cost more than $200,000,” Ovard said. “… If we are going to build 500 homes, let’s put our kids in them, not someone from New York.”
Monday’s Planning Commission meeting did not have the same fireworks, and it wasn’t a public hearing. But the dozen or so people in attendance heard Wohali’s representative work his way through a list of 14 comments the city’s project manager Don Sargent had put together from a July 15 public hearing.
One of them was regarding the effect the development would have on property values in the city, and the potential to price the next generation out of the housing market. Langvardt said that, while he didn’t think it was necessarily a bad thing for property values to increase, he sees how hard it would be for his 23-year-old daughter to buy a house in the neighborhood where he lives.
He drew a comparison to the Red Ledges development outside of Heber. While property values in that area have risen, Langvardt said it was due more to internal city dynamics than the effect of that gated community.
The most common concern voiced in the public hearing, Sargent wrote, was the demand for and availability of water.
“We know we have to have water,” Langvardt said. “We will pay our fees to get our water just like any other development. We will get the water to our property and we will pay for all of the improvements required.”
A water supply study by an outside group found that one new well should be enough to supply the first two phases of the development, and if it reaches full build-out, a second and possibly a third new well would be required. The report found drilling and constructing those wells would be feasible.
Sargent told the commissioners city statute requires that residents not lose any level of service for this or any development.
The development’s conceptual plan calls for higher density around a central core with decreasing density toward the edges. The total project size covers 1,525 acres, with about 1,000 of them retained as open space. Langvardt said that might climb to near 80 percent as land restrictions are put in place.
Planned amenities include two golf courses, a lodge, a spa, a splash pad, a chapel and some businesses like cafes or pubs around the village core. The public will have access to all of it, Langvardt said, along with the seven miles of trails the developer has committed to installing during the project’s first phase.
Wohali has also committed to paying for all of the infrastructure that comes with building, like water, sewer and roads, Langvardt said.
The developers will next come before the City Council for feedback on the plan and zoning designations before submitting a more detailed preliminary plan. That could occur as early as the Council’s Aug. 12 meeting.
While the governor touted state initiatives, members of the public questioned what Cox is doing to help with issues such as the labor shortage and affordable housing, open space, water and education.
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