Wasatch County Council met at the end of September for a public hearing requesting an amendment to the Wallsburg and South Hills planning area. The council heard from many Wallsburg residents before voting to deny the request.
Wasatch County Council met in regular session on September 25th. During the meeting a public hearing lasted for two and a half hours regarding an amendment to the counties Wallsburg and South Hills planning area in the Wasatch County General plan. The 13 landowners were requesting amendments that would allow an overlay zone. The change was a first step that could have eventually led to a 235-lot development in the 8,200-acre area, with 80% open space.
Most of the members of the public who spoke at the September meeting were opposed to the amendments. Wallsburg Mayor Celeni Richins asked the council to listen to the voice of the people.
“We know it’s going to grow,” Richins said. “We’re going about the steps that need to be done to include growth and annexation and all those sorts of things. But as a town council we know things need to happen and things need to change, and we need to grow and we’re trying our best to grow within the parameters that are given. We’d like that the landowners that have purchased property to also grow with only within those parameters. They know the property they bought. They knew what they could do it when they bought it.”
One of the 13 landowners, Scott Ercanbrack, addressed the council and the crowd of neighbors at large.
“If you want to know what I want to do with those 3,000 acres, I want posterity, I want to have family to be able to build there,” Ercanbrack explained. “I don’t plan to put 90 homes on there, but what I’ve heard tonight just a little bit I’m not sure I want to do the plan because I don’t want to give up some of that property which is given in the open space. So, I might have to re-look at that, but be careful at what you’re saying about what the landowners are trying to do here. Because there’s a lot of misunderstanding.”
The attorney for the landowners cited positive committee recommendations, sufficient water rights, willingness to build a second access road, and preserving open space all as reasons why the zone should be approved. He also said that public clamor can’t be a reason as to why the application is denied.
County Council member Marilyn Crittenden said she appreciated the thoughtfulness from the developers. She appreciated ideas such as conservation easements as part of the development. But she had overwhelming reservations including the idea of creating another special services district.
“Whether you think it would or not; this would set a precedence for all P160’s in this County and we would have to deal with that,” Crittenden continued. “This wouldn’t stay in Wallsburg, this would go all over the County and we would have to be dealing with it again. We’ve had a very clear message sent from our voters in this County. They want to preserve open space, so you’ve got some of it. We love that, we love that idea of that clear doing that. But if we compromise and set a precedence for these P160’s, we’re cutting our legs off.”
Council member Steve Farrell made the motion to deny the request from the applicants.
“With the nature and social environments of the Wallsburg area being so fragile at this time, that a major change of this type, being facilitated by the change in the general plan would, in my opinion, adversely affect the health and general welfare of the area,” Farrell said. “I will make the motion that we deny the requests to the change in the general plan.”
The council voted unanimously to deny the request.
Read the original story at KPCW.org