Coalville City leaders annex 1,700 acres into city as landowner proposes 500-home luxury community
Coalville City leaders narrowly approved an annexation application on Monday night that will allow the landowner to move forward with a proposal to develop a 500-home luxury community west of the city’s previous limits.
Coalville City Council members approved, 3-2, the application to annex 1,757 acres into the city after accepting public comment for more than three hours. Councilors Adrianne Anson, Arlin Judd and Tyler Rowser voted in favor of the application, while Cody Blonquist and Rodney Robbins cast the dissenting votes. The hearing followed an open house at North Summit High School. Nearly 200 people attended.
Comments were overwhelmingly against approving the application, with most strongly opposing the proposed development as another attempt at creating a “Park City influence” in North Summit.
Wohali Partners, the petitioner for the annexation, wants to develop 1,500 acres of the land for a private gated community over the course of 10 years. It would be comprised of homes ranging between 800 square feet and more than 5,000 square feet along a private golf course. The homes would cost between $800,000 and more than $4.5 million. At the meeting, it was compared to the Promontory Development.
“It would be a very gradual build out,” said Jim Boyden, a representative of Wohali Partners, during the meeting. “In conversations with city staff and engineers, it fits within the growth plans for the city.”
Community members criticized the proposed housing development during the hearing, with several commenters claiming it doesn’t fit in with the established community and would ruin the small-town atmosphere. The development could nearly double the size of Coalville, which currently has roughly 1,500 residents.
Jaran Anson, a Coalville resident and husband of Adrianne Anson, said a gated community establishes boundaries between current Coalville residents and newcomers. He said it “stings people more than the talk of a development.”
“My issue isn’t the development,” he said. “My issue is the symbolism of the gates that shuts people out of the ground that is important to them. By putting up a gate, you are saying, ‘You don’t belong here.’ I want to make sure this development works for this community and we benefit from it, not the other way around.”
Kelly Ovard said he doesn’t want Coalville to turn into a second-home community, referring the proposal as “Park City influence.”
“I’m sick and tired of people from Park City dictating how we are going to live,” he said. “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. Growth doesn’t bother me. But, if we are going to build 500 homes, let’s put our kids in them not someone from New York.”
Both comments were followed by loud cheers and applause from the audience.
Some people supported annexing the land into the city to allow the City Council and staff to have oversight of the project, while others suggested the county would be more equipped to deal with a proposal of this size.
Concerns were raised about the impacts a development of this size would have on the city’s infrastructure, particularly sewer and water. Boyden, the representative of Wohali Partners, said the developer would be responsible for the costs to extend the city’s infrastructure to the development.
Boyden also highlighted the potential revenue the development would bring into the city’s coffers. He said impact and hookup fees would amount to about $6 million.
“We understand that the capacity of the city’s infrastructure could be maxed out because there are other projects going on in the city and it is a first-come, first-serve,” he said. “If in the final phase of our project we are wanting to come online and the capacity has been met, it would be our responsibility to pay for an upgrade to the city. Our proposition is zero cost to the city.”
Few comments were made in support of the proposal. However, a couple people highlighted the importance of property rights and a landowner’s ability to develop land if they want.
Thomas Rees, who lives on Icy Springs Road, said the development would likely affect his family more than others. The road that would be used to access the housing community crosses his property.
“No matter how I feel about the development, I am a firm believer in personal property rights,” he said. “Growth is coming like it or not. The big question is who do you want controlling the growth? Coalville City or Summit County? Do you want the tax benefit going to Summit County or Coalville? I cannot believe the hatefulness because of what they have planned for their property. Change is scary, but that should not stop us from listening to the facts.”
Despite pleas from the audience, the City Council approved the annexation application and zoned the property one unit per 20 acres. It is unclear how the zoning may affect the proposal, which includes homes on lots smaller than one acre.
In order to pursue the development, Wohali Partners will still need to submit an application for the housing project to the city. The proposal would be vetted by the Coalville Planning Commission and City Council before a decision, and the public would have several more opportunities to comment on its impacts.
Meredith Reed was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Summit County Democratic Party and said she sees an opportunity to ride the so-called blue wave that saw a Democratic surge nationally and within the state.