Ivins residents prepare for extensive fight against planned 113-acre resort

L-R: Ivins residents Chris Haddad and Regina Roper stand outside of the Ivins City Hall after attending a City Council meeting that included a presentation about plans for a 113-acre resort in Ivins, Utah, Sept. 20, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

IVINS — Ivins residents like Chris Haddad and Regina Roper moved to the small Southern Utah city to enjoy the peaceful vistas and starry skies, but as of late, they’re fighting a proposed resort with over 100 total buildings, including two hotels and many rental homes that they say would threaten their quiet way of life.

A map shows the plans for Snow Canyon Resort in Ivins, Utah | Map courtesy of utahland.com, St. George News | Click to enlarge

“The idea of having hotels and people just coming and going and not really giving a damn about what they leave behind is repulsive, especially for this beautiful area,” Haddad said.

Haddad and Roper aren’t alone in their fight. Many Ivins residents showed up at the Ivins City Council meeting Thursday, and although comments from the public weren’t accepted at the meeting, they all came to show solidarity against the proposed Snow Canyon Resort. Nearly every seat in the small City Council chambers was filled.

The plans for the 113-acre resort include the hotels with 650 total guest rooms, 71 town houses, 24 larger homes for families, parking garages and restaurants. If approved, it would be built on undeveloped land east of Puerto Drive from the eastern end of 400 South in Ivins – land that is currently owned by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.

Many of the people at Thursday’s City Council meeting also showed up at the Ivins City Planning Commission meeting Sept. 4 to hear the first presentation of the resort’s plans.

Read more: Standing room only crowd protests planned resort in Ivins

Mike Rodgriquez, building and zoning administrator, presented the plans to the city council. While the official application to build the resort has not yet been submitted to the city yet, the plans are preemptively being presented to the City Council because of how large the project will be if approved.

The Ivins City Council listens to a report about plans for a 113-acre resort in Ivins, Utah, Sept. 20, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

“I suspect (developers) just wanted to get it out there so we could all get nervous,” Mayor Chris Hart said at the meeting. “We have no idea when or even if they will come in with an application.”

People who came to listen to the City Council mostly respected Hart’s request of no public comments at the meeting, although many laughed when Rodgriquez said efforts would be made to minimize the impact on the natural terrain in the construction project.

From lack of infrastructure to love of nature 

One of the concerns Haddad has for Snow Canyon Resort is how the city will provide the necessary infrastructure, like water, sewage and larger roads to handle the traffic. She fears expanding the sewage and water systems in the city will not only be a problem for local government but for members of the community who pay taxes.

The resort will also inevitably bring more traffic to Ivins, Haddad said, even if they are planning on building new roads through the resort.

“Ivins is known for the low lighting, the quietness, the lack of traffic – that whole concept of the resort is against why so many people live out here,” she said.

Roper, who helped start the movement against Snow Canyon Resort that she’s calling “Resist the Resort,” said many people in Ivins moved to the area because of how close it is to nature and the rural feel of the community. Building Snow Canyon Resort would potentially desecrate the land it’s built on, Roper said.

A trail sign stands on the edge of the land that could one day become a 113-acre resort in Ivins, Utah, Sept. 20, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

When asked if they would support a resort being built in Ivins if the plans were not as large as the ones for Snow Canyon Resort, Haddad said she would if the plans were scaled down, but Roper said she doesn’t want to see any resort built in Ivins at all.

“If they need affordable housing for young families, let’s build family homes in some areas,” Roper said. “But personally, I don’t want to see a resort there.”

Continuing the fight

Concerned residents like Roper and Haddad are already planning to prepare signs and buttons with the slogan “Resist the Resort” printed on them. A Facebook page with the same slogan will be updated with ways residents can oppose the resort plans, Roper said.

Although Thursday’s City Council meeting did not allow public comments, Hart promised there will be many opportunities for residents to voice their concerns at additional meetings during every step of the process.

Roper said Ivins residents will continue to come to the City Council meetings to oppose the resort, even if they aren’t allowed to voice their concerns. If the plans move forward, there may be plans to get real estate attorneys involved to take their fight with the courts, Haddad said.

“Ultimately, (the City Council) can do whatever they want,” Roper said. “Maybe they don’t care about the next re-election, but they need to know that if they vote for this, they’re not going to get re-elected.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter:  @STGnews | @SpencerRicks

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • justsaying September 21, 2018 at 6:21 am

    Standing room only. What else needs to be said? Pretty clear the residents of Ivins do not want this resort. No public comments heard at Thursday nights meeting huh? I’m sure there will be opportunities at future meetings but in the meantime start doing your homework on who is for this project so we can simply vote them out. This project offers nothing but a headache to the residents of Ivins who moved there for a reason. This council is obviously not in tune with its residents.

  • chris keele September 21, 2018 at 6:45 am

    Good luck to you Ivins citizens, I hope you have more of an impact on your city council than we the ( St. George city ) citizens did recently, when we went to all the meetings to voice our opposition to a proposed large development in our neighborhood, and even after we had convinced the zoning commission to recommend to decrease the density of this large proposed development, the city council, led mostly by Mayor Pike, went ahead and granted the development the ” go ahead”. There were a lot of us that came away with the feeling that we wasted our time, and it does not matter how much common sense and reason you present to the city council, they had there minds made up in advance ( especially Mayor Pike) . They don’t seem to live in the same universe as the rest us, don’t bother them with the details, like lack of infrastructure, increased traffic to the point of making it dangerous to simply drive from our homes onto the already crowded streets, etc. etc. We will remember when it comes time to vote I am sure. They just want to be the ” fastest growing city ‘ in the nation come hell or high water.

    • tcrider September 21, 2018 at 2:11 pm

      At least you got to have meetings, Washington city is even more corrupt, not saying St George is not.
      but there were city employees that were trying to railroad a deal with udot without any input from
      local citizens. And it keeps getting forgotten between meetings what was agreed upon for a process,
      from the previous meeting.

    • ladybugavenger September 22, 2018 at 9:55 am

      That is how government works. It’s not limited to your small towns. It is everywhere.

  • holger September 21, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Mayor Hart has no vision for the city other than “grow, grow, grow”. If you value the family friendly environment of Ivins now, hang on because this will all change the town’s character. If the City Council had a mother, they would sell her off to make a buck.

  • Steve September 21, 2018 at 7:53 am

    I seriously don’t understand why people are so against this! A nice resort is a WAY better alternative to 113 acres of jam packed affordable housing in MANY ways!!!!!! Also, a nice resort would add a nice influx of tax dollars to Ivins, which is apparently crucial by the way people are so worried about the city paying for a sewer line, which the developer would likely pay for anyhow!!! Give it up people! Quit acting like the sky is falling every time you hear about some new change! And quit acting like tourists won’t “give a damn”. Most tourists certainly do “give a damn”!!!!! Ivins is what it is today BECAUSE of tourists, and the money they bring in. The city council would be out of their minds if they reject this project!

    • iceplant September 21, 2018 at 9:48 am

      1. Do you live in Ivins? I do.
      2. If you DO live in Ivins, might I suggest moving out?
      We don’t want this resort and you are part of the problem.

      • Redbud September 21, 2018 at 11:21 am

        Iceplant, people should have launched a protest when YOUR house was built in Ivins. Think of all the poor native plants, lizards, insects, and fauna you killed off when you got your house. Not to mention the burdon your home places on the sewer system, electrical distribution system, and water supply. Someone should have kept you out!

        • iceplant September 21, 2018 at 12:35 pm

          My home was built in 1998 when nobody cared what was being built in Ivins. Nobody thought this area would develop much at all. I live right next to Kayenta. A development with the right idea when it comes to building. The least amount of impact to the desert and surrounding areas. But I don’t expect you care about those things. And this new development is the exact opposite of what should be going in at that location.
          Like I said elsewhere… unless you live in Ivins, your opinion is moot. “Good luck.”

      • Steve September 21, 2018 at 12:48 pm

        iceplant: This land WILL be developed into something someday. What would YOU like it to be? And why are YOU the one who gets to decide?

        The city has long planned for this area to be developed. If you don’t want it to be developed, go buy it and sit on it!

        • iceplant September 21, 2018 at 2:59 pm

          Steve, you don’t live in Ivins. Why does this even matter to you?

          • Steve September 21, 2018 at 3:50 pm

            You’re making a wild assumption!

            Answer the question. What do YOU want built there?

          • iceplant September 21, 2018 at 4:17 pm

            Nothing. I want them to build nothing there.
            If anything, they should develop that area into a park if they’re going to do anything at all.

            However, you’ve avoided me long enough. Again, you DO NOT live in Ivins. I do and I have friends in the very neighborhood that this resort would be right across the street from. They have a lovely view of Red Mountain and that area is very quiet and peaceful. If this goes through, that view would be obscured by a townhome. Not to mention the months(years) they will endure with noisy construction work. But you have no idea what this area even looks like. You’re just typing to look like you’re interested.

          • Steve September 21, 2018 at 5:03 pm

            You answered me, I’ll answer you. I’ll bet I’ve lived in Ivins longer than you have! I have spent countless hours IN THIS AREA. I’ve hiked it, I’ve biked it, I’ve ridden motorcylcles & fourwheelers out there (there used to be a couple jumps out there). I’ve camped out there. I’ve even paint-balled out there. And this whole time I have known that eventually someone would build something there.

            Developing the area into a nice park would be great! If Ivins could ever afford it! Which they’ll never be able to do, especially without a tax base, which is one of the reasons Ivins needs more commercial!!!!!!!!!!

            Just fussing because a view could be obstructed, or dealing with the noise of construction work…. REALLY?!?!? Your friends moved next to a big plot of open land that has a road dead-end into it, and you assume nothing is ever going to be built there?? They’ve gotta be out of your mind!

          • Happy Commenter September 21, 2018 at 5:20 pm

            I know Steve and he lives in Ivins,frozen vegetable!

          • iceplant September 21, 2018 at 6:05 pm

            Oh, I see. Finally willing to admit you actually DO live here. Classy. I couldn’t care any less if you’ve lived here longer than I have. That’s not the point. Your capitalist approach to the area, however, speaks volumes. There is no room in this city for a resort like that. Period. I hope you dare to show your face at the meetings that are coming. People with your viewpoint you will be soundly defeated. Hope to see you there.

          • Happy Commenter September 21, 2018 at 8:08 pm

            Frozen vegetable, you should see someone about your anger issues..

    • Happy Commenter September 21, 2018 at 10:07 am

      It’s refreshing to see somebody who sees something for what it is rather than getting all worked up over some selfish rant by a few henny pennies.

    • Redbud September 21, 2018 at 10:17 am

      I agree Steve. These people don’t know it yet, but when it comes down to it, it’s all about money, and they won’t be able to stop the construction. It just hasn’t hit them yet that they really have little control, even if they attend the city meetings. Some of these people protesting live in newer homes, and one thing they forget is that their own house once sat on undisturbed land. Our own homes would not exist if it weren’t for the permission granted by the powers that be, whatever time in the past that may have been.

    • Dennis September 21, 2018 at 11:28 am

      That land is full of lava rock, abuts dead end roads, now used for biking & hiking. Just go further down Puerto & see what developers did to Santa Clara w/ one night rentals, water park, etc. The right of residents to be heard is paramount.

  • comment September 21, 2018 at 8:10 am

    Boo hoo.. get over it Ivins

    • iceplant September 21, 2018 at 9:51 am

      And what glorious part of Washington County do you live in? I guarantee you don’t live out here in Ivins.
      Ivins doesn’t need this. It’s sickening to think they’re even considering this development in that particular location.
      You armchair warriors telling people to “get over it” don’t even consider what this will do the community. Maybe you ought to get over yourself.

      • Redbud September 21, 2018 at 11:24 am

        Get over it iceplant! Here it comes!

        • iceplant September 21, 2018 at 12:07 pm

          I will get over nothing. If you dolts had any clue where this actually is or what it will do the neighborhood, you would reject it too. But go ahead, sit in your chairs acting like you know what you’re talking about. If you don’t live in Ivins, you really have no say in this. Your opinion is moot to me.

          • redrock4 September 24, 2018 at 2:04 pm

            Your short sightedness and the general self focus of so many people created this problem. It was OK – or at least more OK when the development wasn’t in your backyard. But now it’s an issue. I really pray for this same thing to happen in Kayenta btw. I guess Ivins is close enough for now. But when the general land ethos revolves around not having a mess in your backyard then apparently it doesn’t hold up to the pressure of development. Bad strategy. So, what would I do besides whining in the comments section? Well, I would go to Kayenta and find support there. Yep, because even though it’s full of Georgia O’Keefe wannabes, you can get unanimous agreement there. Bless Georgia, who was the real thing and actually lived in adobe homes (no stucco).

  • Striker4 September 21, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Well I’m still Trolling St George news as of 8:28 am Friday September 21st. 2018 ….. ok now ya,’all fight the good fight now ya hear !

  • Bob September 21, 2018 at 9:55 am

    I moved here four years ago from a large city in Florida. The growth here is exploding. It has been stated that 800,000 people are leaving California this year and we are a targeted landing area. When you live in paradise the world will find out. Sad but true.

    • Dennis September 21, 2018 at 11:33 am

      I recently went to a meeting & 2 dozen people who were not originally from st george only 2 came from CA. The rest came from New England, midwest, WA, TX FL & MD. Don’t just assume, do your research.

  • NotSoFast September 21, 2018 at 11:14 am

    I don’t recall Ivins residents resisting the creation of Smith’s renowned theater, school and weekend farmers market up the canyon a piece. I suggests you just give up your chickens coops, local pig pens and join in the excitement of beating St’ George upper class to the punch.

    • iceplant September 21, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      Oh, come on. Tuacahn was built back in the 1990’s when nobody thought this area was going to turn into anything particularly special. That’s really not much of an argument. And Ivins is far from “chicken coops” and “local pig pens.” Have you been to Ivins recently?

      • Happy Commenter September 22, 2018 at 10:38 am

        DUH! That’s why they built Tuacahn, iceplant! Shortsightedness, resisting and complaining, how long have you been a democrat?

  • tazzman September 21, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    “The plans for the 113-acre resort include the hotels with 650 total guest rooms, 71 town houses, 24 larger homes for families, parking garages and restaurants”

    So they have 113 acres and will put 95 total townhouses and homes PLUS hotels and restaurants? What are they building, a resort or high density urban brownstones? That sounds packed, not my idea of a resort.

  • NickDanger September 21, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    I agree with the Ivins residents, and if the Ivins City Council goes rogue and approves this development against the will of the citizens, I think that will irreparably splinter the community. I do not live in Ivins but I stand in solidarity with all citizens who want to protect their neighborhoods from greedy developers and are willing to put in the legwork to make it happen.

  • scooby September 21, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    i was thinking of moving there from Fl…ive done alot of research…St Johns county here is being destroyed by builders,appears to be a nationwide thing(ive looked all over)..thanks to everyone in CA leaving,they and the builders are invading and tearing up any spot they can stick 50-100 homes in many states,Idaho/CO/etc(its like a virus thats spreading)….if they’ve published plans for that resort,that means its coming…they the builder and the county doesn’t care WHAT you think,same happening here in Fl,not putting in roads first/etc……I HAVE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU THOUGH….cuz i did my research ya seeee….you are SURROUNDED by Federal land and Indian Reservations..The builders have NO MORE room to build…thats most likely why they are trying to steal the land from the school land trust…wasnt the trust created to keep builders away??..you Ivins peeps need to check into that..the only smart thing my county did many years ago was declare several large parts of land Nature Preserves,so builders can NEVER touch it today or in the future,…one of the specific reasons i like Ivins/St George area is because i know it IS surrounded by Federal lands,Parks/BLM/ETC and there wont be extreme explosive growth,yes you’ve seen growth,but nothing like here in Fl where we dont have much Federal land to protect us from over building…google federal lands in UT..you will see..the evil builders are almost out of places to build in that area….at a BARE MINIMUM,you need to ENSURE if they build the resort,that they comply with DARK SKIES restrictions,so you can still see stars at night and also that new tech center they are building at the old airport..not sure if i will be moving there but if i do its because i KNOW the evil builders and city gvt crooks have nothing left to develop..that also means your property values will SKYROCKET..if you own a house there,keep it,because you will never get back in..also the way they slapped up all those newer houses,they will have foundation erosion issues in the future like the airport is having….if a guy named Gary Buckles(retired ATC) was at the meeting,tell him Stormin Norman aka Norm for short says hello(nickname he gave me)…i will check the comments next few days,see if he responds…dont forget,you are surrounded by federal lands,so dont panick about overbuilding….its not gonna happen…no room left…har har

    • WO September 23, 2018 at 5:05 pm

      Scooby has done some background homework, but having observed some of the political class’ actions these past few years, I believe it’s a Fait Accompli. Bella Sol has already been hosed by the multi story neighbor across the street and this is just the beginning. Smile because that is about all you can do

  • scooby September 21, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    after reading this it appears to me that the trust selling the land for private development may quite possibly be against Federal law…it appears the land was granted to Utah by Congress for uses other than commercial development(not sure if the trust has a right to sell parts of it off or whether it is legal for them to do so)…someone in Ivins might be able to file a lawsuit to stop the selloff of the trust land….further research is required by you Ivins peeps…i found this by chance,worth you Ivins peeps checking into it..land is suppose to be for building schools/etc……https://trustlands.utah.gov/our-agency/what-are-trust-lands/

  • scooby September 21, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    dont believe what the trust land website says..check with a Congressman(but not Utah),ask him or her for help,ask them how the land is suppose to be, and was intended to be used..i find it hard to believe Congress would appropriate land to the trust for commercial development in order to receive royalties from the developers…..and not for building schools or natural resource mining/etc……you Ivins peeps need to lawyer up,at minimum,for clarification of the trust land and the guidelines that were attached to it by Congress…maybe there are no guidelines that came with the land and the Utah Trust is making up there own as they go….someone in Ivins needs to find out..

  • Kilroywashere September 21, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    Scooby has something worthwhile. I will just say this, no matter how much you go to council meetings, and pack the house, it will be approved. This is what happened with the South Hills Project in Santa Clara. This must be your first assumption. 2nd: You need to dig around and figure out the back channels and who will profit and possible trickle down structures. Not easy , but you may connect the dots with your city council members etc… In the case of South Hills one of the developers had major family connections and a member on the council also had the same last name. etc.
    Then you need to lawyer up. If this is not possible, and you are not willing to go the mileage, enjoy the resort, because big money wins over local governments around here most of the time. Sorry to be pessimistic. In the end, the council members won’t care if they’re not re-elected. If you do thwart the development it will build a roadmap for future opposition in Washington County. Good luck, and honestly it is hard to stop growth and development. I looked at the plans and it is not the end of the world, but it will impact locals in that area nearby for sure, especially during the long construction phase. THAT SUCKS ROYALLY. In the end it may not be as bad as you think. The SC South Hills will at least give us a local disc golf course that would be worthwhile if they do it right. I sent Mayor Rick via email a 3 page consultation on how to do it right. If you can’t beat them join them. So don’t rule out concessions. Never heard back from him though. Our SC govt works in mysterious ways, but I won’t go there again, as previous posts covered that topic thoroughly just under a year ago. You can win no doubt, but hardball, not softball has to be the name of the game.

  • Kilroywashere September 22, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Note: public pressure on local govt does work when it is a smaller commercial developer, especially if said developer lives out of state. I.e .CA. Local citizens were prepared and built a powerful case. But it was a small parcel near Harmons intended to be a strip mall.

  • utahdiablo September 22, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Yep, the road into Tuacahn is being developed with crap box condos, and Washington city area’s new Arroyo at Sienna Hills? Have you seen what is going on there in the natural flood plain next to Telegraph? They’re filling it in with dirt and rock from across the street from the Hell hole canyon trail….yes filling in the flood control channel with dirt and rock 25ft high to build more homes and condos!….boy oh boy going to be fun times ahead when the homes go up and the flood waters come to wash them away, recall the Santa Clara floods of 2005?….nothing but greed…and as to Sitla, they are all in the Corruption 100%

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