Mayor's Message: Salt Lake County Ignores Local Opposition; Approves Olympia Hills

Mayor Trent StaggsBy Mayor Trent Staggs

Over the last two years the Southwest Mayors Coalition made up of Bluffdale, Copperton, Herriman, Riverton, South Jordan, and West Jordan have been very vocal about our opposition to the Olympia Hills development project. There is an uncanny opinion by some of our county officials that the southwest region needs to absorb more of the growth that is coming. Coincidentally, this opinion largely coincides with individuals who don’t live in our area, don’t understand the needs of our residents or what planning decisions have already been made.

Last month, the county council voted 6-3 to approve zoning changes that allow for Olympia Hills to move forward with their 933-acre development. It is unfortunate that the county officials who voted for this change ignored the thousands of residents who voiced their opposition to the project, along with the six mayors from the cities that will be directly affected by this high-density development.

There are many flaws with the current Olympia Hills development plan that will directly affect Riverton, including:

  1. Community General Plan: In 2008, the County’s Southwest General Plan was amended and allowed for 3-5 units per acre. With this amendment, cities including Riverton have used those numbers to appropriately plan for our own infrastructure needs. The approved density is almost 40% greater than the upper limit of the county’s general plan.
  2. Density Studies: The Southwest Vision Study is currently ongoing and is planned to be completed by the end of this year. The county spent $100,000 of taxpayer money to fund this study which was meant to help proactively plan for the future of the southwest region. The approval of Olympia Hills ultimately negates the effectiveness of that study and negatively impacts the planning efforts for this region.
  3. Infrastructure Impact: The impact to existing municipal infrastructure is estimated to cost the surrounding cities at least $40 million. Even more troublesome is the fact that there are no funding mechanisms in place to pay for current roadway infrastructure needs along Mt. View Corridor and Bangerter Highway, let alone funds available to pay for the additional infrastructure needed to support this project.
  4. Inadequate Water Supplies: The Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District (JVWCD) has estimated that this development, which is approximately 10% the size of Riverton’s footprint, would use the equivalent amount of water that our entire city would use. It would also push JVWCD’s planning timeline forward ten years, which jeopardizes their ability to deliver water supplies moving forward.

I want to reiterate that Riverton and our surrounding cities are not scared of growth. In fact, the southwest region has accounted for over 70% of the population growth since 2000. We simply believe in smart responsible growth accompanied by infrastructure that won’t diminish our quality of life.

Although a majority of county leadership has completely disregarded the “people’s voice,” I want to reassure you that you are my priority and I will continue to listen and fight for the needs of this great city.

Published April 1, 2020

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