ST. GEORGE – The St. George Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday was full, leaving many standing in the doorways as Stephen Sheffield, representing his company Shefco, applied to change a single family residential zone to a planned development commercial zone at the intersection of River Road and 1450 South. The application was tabled for 30 days so a committee of neighbors could be formed and concerns could be addressed. It will be brought back to the planning commission on Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. The zone change will affect Boulder Creek Commons and Boulder Creek Crossings, on the east and west sides of River Road, respectively.
Sheffield said his family has envisioned a beautiful shopping center on the proposed location for 25 years. As they have been waiting for the right time to build, they have been preparing by helping the city establish and widen roads, providing power lines, storm drains, sewage, lighting, trail head, design and studies for the area.
“It was a very tough burden for a small family who was only interested in this part, but because the city asked us to, we built those,” Sheffield said. “We are very committed to this.”
The level of commitment was evident and Sheffield said that many of the concerns that neighbors came with could be resolved with planning and design. Concerns discussed in the meeting included property values, crime and traffic, adequate notice given, flooding, and uses for the property.
Property Values and Residential Buffer Zone
Property values was a large concern to everyone in the meeting, including Sheffield as his home is also in the neighborhood of the shopping center.
Sheffield said property values will increase because the shops will be aesthetically pleasing and convenience factor will increase.
The artist’s rendition shown during Sheffield’s presentation of the center showed a contemporary desert style, with shops with character that will look the same from the front and back.
David Cole of the homeowners association in Boulders said property values will decrease because of the noise, traffic and other nuisances it will bring. “I don’t know of any upscale community that would want a big box grocery store right up next to them,” Cole said.
A homeowner,Dianne Bromley, said that it will increase the value of her property and make lives easier. “I never experienced that those shopping centers increased our traffic. They made our lives simpler and made our worlds smaller,” Bromley said.
Crime and Traffic
Because the area will be developed and lighted, it was argued that it will be easier for policemen to patrol.
On the other hand, neighbors expressed concern over the Maverick and other potential stores that could bring late night customers and potentially increase crime.
Traffic is a large issue and a problem already for the Boulders’ community.
“To develop this residential area into commercial will significantly harm the single family residents of this area. The traffic noise, air and otherwise pollution will be extensive and substantially harmful to our children and our way of life, speaking of children, I have six,” Ronna Marker said. “The business that Mr. Sheffield is proposing which included a McDonald’s will not pump substantial money into our community, nor will it provide an enhanced quality of life and service to area residents which he claimed at the economic summit. Instead it will take money from our locally owned and operated businesses, congest our main roads and cause a rise in criminal activity.”
Notice given to residents was questioned as not many received word that the development and zoning request was taking place.
Homeowners said the fact that they had not received notice made them worried about the business practices taking place.
Legally it is the responsibility of the City of St. George to deliver notices to the residents. It was said that only one home fell in the radius of the 500 feet requirement for notice and that homeowner did receive notice and attended the meeting. Many residents said the radius needs to be expanded.
Signs have been posted for 10 years announcing the site. There was nothing quick about it, Sheffield said.
Some residents expressed concern that the Maverik and Jiffy Lube will be placed where flooding has occurred in the past.
“This area will be and has been subject to extensive flooding, which in the future will flood into the underground gas tanks of the maverick and flood the parking lot and oil changing bays of the proposed Jiffy Lube. Many of us were witness to the damage these recent floods caused,” Marker said.
Sheffield said that there were many studies done, including studies done by the city, and also a couple of his own. The studies were to understand and evaluate the river and the flood plain. They resulted in the determination of which areas are buildable.
“The properties in and around Maverik are high enough to be outside of the flood plain because the new elevations have been determined, raised high enough and erosion controlled to keep the water contained,” Sheffield said.
Uses for the property
There were many potential uses for the property, some of which were stricken at the planning commission meeting. Sheffield offered a committee to be created of neighbors to discuss the types of shops that the community would like.
“Because this is our neighborhood and our neighborhood center I would like the community to help us fill up the center with the kind of shops that we want and so I’ve created a new email firstname.lastname@example.org,” Sheffield said. “We welcome our neighbor input because this is something that we want to make as best as we can.”
A separate request for a zone change from single family residential to a planned development commercial lot for a Jiffy Lube was approved by the St. George Planning Commission and will go forward to the city council on Feb. 20 for a public hearing.
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