Hurricane hears complaints over ski lake subdivision, approves Copper Rock

The location of a controversial proposed ski lake subdivision at approximately 920 West 1500 South in Hurricane, Utah, April 21, 2017 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

HURRICANE – Real estate developments were the prime topic of discussion at the Hurricane City Council meeting Thursday evening with many residents voicing concerns over the proposed subdivisions and associated rezoning.

Proposed ski lake subdivision

The most heated discussion was one about changing zoning to allow for a ski lake subdivision similar to Tooele County’s Last Chance Lakes at approximately 920 West south of 1500 West.

The location of a controversial proposed ski lake subdivision at approximately 920 West 1500 South in Hurricane, Utah, April 21, 2017 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

Eight Hurricane residents who live within the vicinity of the proposed development came to voice their concerns about it. The No. 1 concern was water. Both Lou Mozingo and Judy Bohne said that the Washington County Water Conservancy District has encouraged county residents to conserve water, which they feel the development won’t do. Mozingo questioned why the city needs a private reservoir when it’s got two public ones nearby.

Even though the county’s  water situation is good for the first time in a decade because of last winter’s excessive rain and snow, Bohne said, residents shouldn’t take this as a license to waste water.

“We still need to conserve this precious water,” she said.

The amount of water to keep the lakes full is the same amount of water 26 horses would need for an entire year, developer Jason Christensen said for a point of comparison.

“I don’t think we’re using water too excessively,” he said.

Christensen said the development has arranged to purchase 19 primary shares and 16 secondary shares from Hurricane Canal Company but admitted that they will have to arrange for more water to initially fill the proposed lakes.

Dallan Wadsworth, who runs an agricultural operation immediately east of the proposed development, had an entirely different concern about water. When he flood irrigates his property, he said, despite his best efforts, some runoff reaches the neighbors. They have been very forgiving, he said, but he doesn’t expect the homeowners in the future development to react the same way.

“If I flood a home in that subdivision, we’re going to be sued,” he said, adding that the developers won’t be around when the real problems start.

The location of a controversial proposed ski lake subdivision at approximately 920 West 1500 South in Hurricane, Utah, April 21, 2017 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

Another major concern residents voiced is the collapsible soil within the proposed development site: The soil’s potential to collapse would require even more water – water to be placed on it before any building begins to try to ensure proper settlement.

“They’re going to make themselves have some extra problems,” Ken Richins, a neighbor to the proposed development, said, noting that a water feature in a place that has such a potential for problems is not a good fit.

John Nielson, Wadsworth’s brother-in-law who also lives adjacent to the proposed development, voiced major concerns about the settlement of the soil. Houses within a quarter-mile of his home have been condemned because of settling, he said, despite the residents’ best efforts to avoid it.

Neilson is also concerned about other potential problems: mosquitoes and weeds the extra water will bring as well as gophers. He said once the water is on the property, the gophers will move elsewhere, but once it’s developed, they’ll move back.

Mozingo also mentioned light pollution and noise pollution as concerns.

To the noise pollution concern, Christensen said that block walls around the development would reduce noise levels and that boat noise is similar to that of a lawnmower. The major noise nearby residents might hear the most is the music from the boats, he said.

“We will do everything we can to make sure no one else’s property will be impacted by what we do,” Christensen said.

Mozingo concluded her remarks, saying, “I don’t want agricultural land to give way to a rich man’s subdivision.”

Bohne said she doesn’t mind the 56 homes the development is proposing, she just thinks other recreation options within the development, like a swimming pool or tennis courts, would be better options.

One resident came to voice his approval of the development. Keith Buswell, representing Hurricane resident Dave Waddeman (spelling uncertain), said he feels the developers have done their due diligence and that the proposed use of the subdivision will work.

Near the end of the discussion, Councilman Kevin Tervort, voiced his opposition to the project. Tervort serves as a liaison to the water conservancy district and attends its meetings. By 2025, he said, there will not be enough water for further development in the county. Such use of water for developments could increase the impact fees – just for water – to about $16,000, he said.

“We need water to sustain life,” he said. “This water could be used a lot better than on a lake and for settling. There are 40,000 acres of property that could be built on without having to settle it.”

Tervort said he’s all right with the subdivision itself but not the lakes.

The agenda item about the ski lake subdivision was only a discussion item at the meeting. The council will make its decision whether or not to grant the zoning change and the planned development overlay during its next meeting May 4.

Report continues below.

Copper Rock annexation

Residents of the Cliff Dwellers and Sky Ranch subdivisions attended the meeting to voice their concerns over the proposed annexation of the Copper Rock development at the city’s extreme southern end. Their concerns were the same ones voiced in the Boundary Commission Hearing March 30 – increase in density, negative impact on dark night skies, increase in traffic associated with the development, et cetera.

James Humphries, representing Cliff Dwellers property owner Rebecca Nelson, voices concerns over the annexation of Copper Rock into Hurricane City before the Hurricane City Council, April 20, 2017 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

Despite their concerns, some of the development’s neighbors were complimentary to the developers for how nice they’ve been to work with.

“We got compliments from the opposition for working with them to resolve their concerns,” Copper Rock Manager Gordon Zitting said in an email exchange with St. George News following the meeting.

“The people of Cliff Dwellers were very polite in opposing the zoning of Copper Rock,” Councilwoman Cheryl Reeve said, also in email with St. George News after the meeting “They are opposed to density and what comes with it.  The night sky and desert cliff scenery is a big reason they chose to live there.”

We found more support from the council for dark skies than I expected,” Zitting said. “They are agreeing to generally low light levels plus fewer and lower light level street lights.”

In response to concerns over density, Copper Rock reduced the density of the homes along the 16th hole of the golf course, which was the a major concern for Cliff Dweller and Sky Ranch residents because it abuts their developments.

“The state reporting that they were moving forward with completing SR-7 out to SR-9, and that there were significant road impact fees to come in as we grow, seemed to answer the traffic issue,” Zitting said.

Hurricane City and Copper Rock Properties have worked for months on a development agreement plan that Copper Rock has agreed to meet if annexation takes place, Reeve said.  

“City Attorney Fay Reber and (City) Planner Toni Foran have spent days trying to come up with a plan that will protect the City and yet provide growth benefits,” she said.

Reber recommended some revisions to the annexation agreement, which Copper Rock Properties agreed to.

View of Sky Ranch from the future front 9 holes of the Copper Rock Golf Course, Hurricane, Utah, March 29, 2017 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

The annexation is something the City Council has not taken lightly.

“Every council member has studied about the issues for and against the annexation request,” Reeve said. “Personally, I was not in favor and was prepared to vote ‘no’ until about a week ago. Then, I was on the fence and I did not make up my mind until during tonight’s meeting. I turned my vote to ‘yes’ and I felt really good about it.”

Reeve said she felt that two “no” votes and two “I don’t know” votes turned into “yeses” at Thursday night’s meeting, ultimately resulting in a unanimous vote for annexation.

Zitting was complimentary of the council’s involvement in the decision.

It was obvious the council had spent some real time on this,” he said. “They were engaging and asked very good questions.”

Now the annexation paperwork will be sent to the state to be certified and the state must approve it before the annexation is final. 

“It’s not a done deal, but it has come a long way to this point,” Reeve said. “This will be something that Hurricane citizens will look back on and will either regret the decision or will be happy about.  As Mayor Bramall says, ‘We don’t have a crystal ball.’”

Report continues below.

Copper Rock Land Use Master Plan | Image courtesy of Gordon Zitting/Alliance Consulting

Other business

The City Council granted an agricultural protection overlay zone request for 23.12 acres at approximately 2359 S. 1300 West.

The council also discussed but did not approve a zoning change request for Pride Rock, 188 N. Old Highway 91, from light industrial to heavy industrial. Two nearby landowners voiced their concerns over the change in zoning, saying that Pride Rock does not operate as cleanly as nearby Sunroc. For instance, Jay Crosby, who owns 11 acres nearby, said that he regularly notices a cloud of dust at Pride but not at Sunroc. Another nearby landowner, Ron Davies, echoed Crosby’s sentiments. The council will make a decision on the zoning request during its May 4 meeting.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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