Record editorial: Wohali vote means growth is at Coalville’s doorstep, whether residents want it or not
It was an outcome many vocal Coalville residents had been dreading.
On Monday evening, the Coalville City Council voted 3-1 to provide initial approval to the proposed Wohali development, a second-home community with plans for 570 residential units, 130 nightly rentals, 27 holes of golf, a spa and other amenities.
The developers still must clear a few hurdles — including negotiating a development agreement — before they can put shovels in the ground, but the decision seemed to signal the end of a long chapter of Coalville’s history.
The exact ways in which the town, where people have long taken pride in its rural, small-town character, will change in the coming years and decades remain to be seen. But it seems almost certain now that major change is coming.
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It’s a fate many people who live in Coalville — some whose families have been there for generations — have indicated they were hoping to avoid.
The City Council was in the unenviable position of having to decide an issue that could define the community going forward. The members who voted for it appeared to have valid reasons. A few of them indicated protecting the rights of the landowner was a key factor in their decision. Another said she couldn’t ignore the potential economic benefits the development could bring into a town that does not have a large tax base.
But some residents — at least those who provided several hours of public input at recent City Council meetings — are vehemently opposed to Wohali. Now they are left to ponder what their town will look like in 10 years, or in the decade after that, and wonder if it will be the kind of place where they’ll still want to live.
It was not surprising that one of the common refrains of the opposition was that they don’t want to become another Park City.
In Park City, many benefits have accompanied the transformational growth that has taken place over the last three decades. But it has also brought problems the town is confronting today, such as sky-high housing costs and a concern that the character of the community is fading.
More than a few longtime Parkites yearn for the sleepy town they once knew.
In Park City, though, many folks in the pre-Olympic era aspired to become a world-class resort destination. The people who have spoken up in Coalville, in contrast, seem to have little desire to invite growth.
After Monday’s vote, it is now at their doorstep — whether they like it or not.
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Our view: Against a once-unimaginable backdrop, and with little margin for error, county officials have made painful but prudent decisions in an attempt to spare us from the worst of the pandemic.