ST. GEORGE — At Tuesday’s 5 p.m. semimonthly meeting, the St. George City Planning Commission tabled deciding on a zone change application by Stephen Sheffield, representing his company Shefco, with regard to the Boulder Creek Commons and Boulder Creek Crossing developments, to allow the developer at least 30 days to complete a traffic study and satisfy other requirements of the city.
The Boulder commercial developments are planned in the area of 1450 South River Road.
Because Sheffield has added a 116,000-square-foot Smith’s Marketplace as an anchor store to the master plan, the City requested that Sheffield provide a traffic study, an updated rendering of the buildings to be included in the project and a noise mitigation plan.
The commission said that the addition of a large anchor store and 16 other buildings in the project master plan will create substantial traffic issues to be addressed: where the entrances should be located, turning movements and related traffic flow. The last traffic study is dated, having been completed in 2004 when the Summit Athletic Club was built nearby on East 1450 South, which intersects perpendicular to River Road where the Boulder centers are planned.
The updated rendering of the anchor store should especially show the front and back sides, the commission said.
In addition the city wants a noise mitigation plan completed, expressing concerns about noise that may arise at the loading dock, trash compactor and traffic in and around the anchor store in particular.
Sheffield addressed the commission saying the master plan was adopted in the 1980s showing this area as a neighborhood center.
“We have really been working hard to make everything happen,” Sheffield said.
Many of the improvements to the road and development of the trail system there, he said, were made at a huge sacrifice to his family budget while waiting out the recession.
The Smith’s Marketplace as an anchor was not included in the original application because there had been no sure commitment made by them, largely due to funding, Sheffield said. Boulder Creek Commons is one location they, Smiths Marketplace, are interested in, but it is not at the top of their list, he said, therefore it is yet unknown if they will be the anchor store.
Sheffield added the anchor store as a concession to his neighbors, he said, and since he lives there on the edge of the development himself, he would have to look at it every day and therefore wants to make sure it is done right.
Sheffield told St. George News this project will be approved, that it is just a matter of working out the details to minimize the negative impacts and maximize the positives.
“I have spent a decade-plus, working out the final details,” Sheffield said. About 95 percent of the people that came to the neighborhood meetings like it once they find out about the details, he said, it is the fear of the unknown that drives some to question it.
Some concerns expressed by neighbors have included the impact on property values, increases in traffic, environmental concerns and possible crime the development may bring to the area.
In response to the concerns, Sheffield said that property values will increase because it will bring needed services to the area and reduce traffic and crime problems. “We can make it look better than the field of weeds we have there now,” he said, “then it’s an upgrade.”
As far as concerns about increasing crime, Sheffield pointed to areas in Bloomington and Santa Clara where similar developments have not impacted the crime rates. There would be more lighting, security cameras and walls built in addition to a greater police presence, he said.
Traffic problems are a valid concern, Sheffield said, but the traffic problems are largely the result of the increase in the number of houses built in the area. Having the stores closer to residents will actually improve traffic conditions, he said, since those living in the area will not have to travel so far to get to shopping centers.
Environmental concerns raised by some neighbors concerning the Jiffy Lube going in close to the Virgin River are a nonissue, Sheffield said, because that business has already been approved for construction by the city.
Paul Gooch, a St. George resident in the Little Valley area attended a neighborhood meeting that Sheffield held. He is impressed that Sheffield lives in the area himself, he said.
Sheffield has to live with the consequences of whatever he puts into place at Boulder Creek Commons, Gooch said, “unlike some developers who make a mess and don’t have to live with it. I see this as a guy who is aware of the effects of what he is doing.”
At Sheffield’s request, the commission tabled the application for at least 30 days to give him time to complete the traffic study and other items the city is requesting.
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