River Road commercial project gains additional land despite opposition

Site of a part of the incoming Boulder Creek Crossing commercial Development along River Road, as seen from the hillside by Bundy Lane, St. George, Utah, May 4, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – In a lengthy meeting Thursday night, the St. George City Council approved measures related to proposed commercial and residential projects. One of those projects was for the Boulder Creek Crossing, a large commercial development surrounding the area of River Road and 1450 South.

The developers of the proposed 35-acre commercial property asked the City Council to amend the city’s general plan regarding a 1.4-acre piece of land at the corner of River Road and a private residential street known as Bundy Lane, also designated 1580 South St. The parcel is on the edge of the commercial property and is currently marked for residential use. The Sheffield Group, which owns Boulder Creek Crossing and the 1.4-acre parcel, asked the general plan to be changed to allow for future commercial use.

The City Council voted twice on the matter. The first vote was for a motion to not allow a change to the general plan. That vote was 2-2 and was broken by Mayor Jon Pike, whose vote defeated the motion. A second vote to approve the change and allow potential commercial development also ended in a tie and was passed with the mayor’s vote. Councilman Jimmie Hughes was not present.

Before the vote, residents of Bundy Lane and the surrounding area voiced their opposition to the general plan change. They expressed concerns over traffic, having their views obstructed and the potentially negative impact commercial development could have on the character of the neighborhood. The lane presently consists of a number of single-family homes.

Area residents who addressed the City Council said they had nothing against the Boulder Creek Crossing development as a whole. However, they said they didn’t see why the developer needed an extra 1.4 acres of additional space.

“I understand we need the commercial, let them build the commercial,” area resident Ross Glauser said, “But why build it in the middle of someone’s neighborhood? Why is that fair? … Let (the developer) have his commercial, let us have our residential.”

Part of the objection to a general plan change was the potential of a 20,000-square foot building being built on the corner of River Road and Bundy Lane. However, City Manager Gary Esplin said the item before the council wasn’t to approve if the building was going to be built, but rather if the land itself was a good fit for future commercial use.

The issue tonight is not about whether or not you allow that commercial building to go in there,” Eslpin said to the council. “…It’s for a general plan amendment, because, again, it has to come back to a zone change. So to me, the question is: ‘Do you think that residential is the right zoning for that 1.4 acres in that particular location, or is it better to amend the plan?’”

The Sheffield Group has reached out to area residents, holding various meetings, as well as a webinar earlier this week, concerning the project, Sheffield said.

“Our goal is to create quality neighborhoods,” Sheffield said, adding that the Sheffield Group has been involved in building the nearby Boulders residential community and Summit Athletic Club.

Sheffield said the developer believes property values will go up with a well-planned commercial development next door. Concerning issues over view obstruction, the developer has told residents that buildings will be limited to a height of 35 feet. As for traffic concerns, a traffic study requested by the city has just been completed and will be supplied to the city for review.

I honestly believe we’ve tried to address all scenarios and create a quality development,” Sheffield said.

Businesses already moved into the Boulder Creek Crossing development are a Maverik convenience store and gas station and a Jiffy Lube. Both businesses raised resident concerns due to their proximity to the Virgin River, yet were nonetheless approved by the city.

Ultimately voting against the general plan amendment were Councilwomen Bette Arial and Michele Randall, with Councilmen Joe Bowcutt and Gil Almquist voting for it. Hughes, being absent, did not vote. Pike cast the tie-breaking vote, approving the amendment change.

I think there are special places in this city,” Arial said prior to the vote. “Bundy Lane is one of those places.”

Other business

The City Council also approved a zone change from single-family residential to high-density residential for 11.75 acres in the area between Riverside Drive and 2450 East and set behind a church and Millcreek High School for the proposed Greyhawk Apartments at River’s Edge development.

The zone change had been approved in March, but the developer put it in front of the City Council again after it was discovered a number of area residents hadn’t received notified about the last public hearing.

A general plan amendment change was approved for a 6-acre parcel from business park to medium-density residential at 415 South Dr. Area residents addressed the City Council with concerns related to traffic and what future development may take up on the property.

The City Council also approved bids for items related to the All-Abilities Park and Playground. A volcano/play structure was approved for the for $545,672. Esplin said the volcano was one of the most crucial parts of the dinosaur-themed park. The council also approved $275,556 for 2,700 feet of railroad track for the park train.

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Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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