Despite local opposition, Santa Clara City Council approves development with 70 short-term rentals

Concerned residents attend the Santa Clara City Council Meeting to voice their concerns about Solace, a 52-acre housing development in Santa Clara, Utah, Sept. 26. 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

SANTA CLARA — The Santa Clara City Council approved a new development Wednesday that would bring 250 residential units to the community, including 70 short-term rentals.

After about 2 1/2 hours of listening to the developer’s proposal, hearing from concerned community members and debating the plans, the City Council approved the plans for Solace, a development planned by Cole West Home. The 52-acre development will be located along North Town Road, east of the Bella Sol subdivision and north of the Harmons grocery store in Santa Clara.

A map shows the location for Solace, a 52-acre housing development in Santa Clara, Utah, Sept. 26. 2018 | Map courtesy of Santa Clara City, St. George News | Click to enlarge 

Residential units will be located on either side of the Tuacahn Wash, with the northeastern corner reserved for the 70 town house-style rental units. The rest of the development will be made up of about 100 town  house and 80 single-family homes. The plans will include trails on either side of the wash that will connect with other recreational trails in Santa Clara.

There were two ordinances for the development: one to approve the development’s plans and one to approve the short-term rentals on the property. Three of the council members voted in favor of both ordinances for the development while one, councilman Wendell Gubler, voted against them.

“I’m concerned about the possibly of more nightly rentals,” Gubler said before casting his votes. “I think we’ve gotten to the saturation point, especially in that area.”

Many community members who attended the City Council meeting to voice their opinions on Solace shared similar sentiments as Gubler. Some were worried about how the development would affect property values of other homes in the area or possibly hurt the small-town feel of Santa Clara.

“I didn’t come here to be dropped in the middle of a vacation-rental village,” Santa Clara resident Linda Price said.

Another concern for residents was about how the development would go into land previously designated as an open space. That open land was the reason that Santa Clara residents like Kami Mahan spent more money to buy homes in that area.

Drake Howell, a spokesman for Cole West Home, presents the plans for Solace, a 52-acre housing development in Santa Clara, Utah, Sept. 26. 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

In her address to the City Council, Mahan said she wouldn’t have built her home backing the open land if she knew they were going to build a development there someday.

“We consider this more or less a bait and switch,” Mahan said. “Now, anyone on Bella Sol Drive who wants to sell their home will have to incur a significant financial loss, not even mentioning the emotional and personal loss to us.”

Several of the council members expressed how difficult it was for them to make a decision on Solace. While many of the concerns brought up by residents were valid, councilman Herb Basso said, it’s a misunderstanding for people to think areas designated as open space would never be developed.

“Pretty much all of Santa Clara was an open space zone until somebody said ‘Can we build a home here?'” Basso said. “People need to understand that just because there’s a lot that’s open next to you doesn’t mean it will always be an open space.”

The City Council approved the ordinances to allow the development to move forward, but they did have a condition that the developers make an effort to direct most of the heavy construction traffic through the main entrance on Rachel Drive and not through the secondary entrance on North Town Road to be less intrusive to residents.

Swiss Days parade rules

The City Council also reviewed the rule for the Swiss Days parade that prevented a political candidate from participating in the parade.

Daniel Holloway, of Ivins, is running as a Libertarian for Utah House district 74 | Photo courtesy of HollowayforUtah.com, St. George News

Daniel Holloway, a Libertarian from Ivins running for House District 74 this year, addressed the council about how he felt about the rule that stated “this parade may not be used as a forum for political promotion or campaign.”

Holloway’s opponent, incumbent Rep. V. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, did participate in the parade with campaign signs, regardless of any rules on the books.

Read more: Swiss miss: Santa Clara parade rule leaves one candidate out, his opponent in

Holloway said he didn’t feel like anyone from Santa Clara explicitly attempted to exclude him from the parade, but he did say he thinks it’s important for public officials to consistently assess laws that are on the books to see if they are still valuable and enforceable.

“Difficult-to-enforce laws should be removed,” he said.

No action was taken, but the council promised the issue would be looked at before the next Swiss Days in 2019. Councilwoman Mary Jo Hafen apologized to Holloway over the confusion of the rule, and councilman Jarett White said he thought the rule should be revised or removed.

“I do agree the rule is very ambiguous and it should at least be rewritten if not struck down,” White said.

Email: sricks@stgnews.com

Twitter:  @STGnews | @SpencerRicks

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

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36 Comments

  • justsaying September 27, 2018 at 6:26 am

    Wow, I mean just wow. What’s with these short stay rentals? Build a low key hotel, or resort, every time the words “short term rentals” are uttered they are met with complete opposition, but yet they still get approved. Way to go city council, really looking out for your residents and their wishes.

  • jpff September 27, 2018 at 7:33 am

    If the residents of Santa Clara are unhappy that the town council members are not listening to the public, they can certainly show that displeasure in November.

    • iceplant September 27, 2018 at 9:36 am

      It won’t matter. One good ol’ boy gets voted out and another good ol’ boy takes his place. They think they’re actually making progress by voting them out. The irony is rather foul smelling.

  • Anon September 27, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Look, SC residents, if you were truly concerned about property values here you should have had an appraiser come out and appraise your home both as it is now and as it would be after the development went in taking away your “view”. While there is a chance the council wouldn’t have listened still, they really need to rely on hard facts and not some rumor that it will hurt property values. You’ve had multiple chances to bring forth real evidence to the council and you blew it. I applaud the council for not being bullied into rejecting the development by those who squawked, but didn’t prove. We need more government officials like that.

  • iceplant September 27, 2018 at 8:27 am

    YES, YES!! More cramped housing for out-of-towners!! More money from local developers to line the pockets of city officials! More, more, more!!! Cram those cheap houses in there! Make more money! Yea capitalism avarice and greed! Greed is good!

    Right, Utah?

    • Striker4 September 27, 2018 at 8:59 am

      I disagree..you only see what you want to see..feel free to troll elsewhere

      • iceplant September 27, 2018 at 9:33 am

        Stay classy, Strikeout.

        • Striker4 September 28, 2018 at 3:54 am

          Well that’s your opinion feel free to troll elsewhere icepuddle

    • Happy Commenter September 27, 2018 at 9:47 am

      BOHICA !

  • Not_So_Much September 27, 2018 at 9:03 am

    Well as long as these visitors bring their own drinking water, just sayn’

  • redrock4 September 27, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Remember what happened in 2008? I hope it happens again. It may have been the only reprieve we have had from the landscape being eroded by the building industry. This is what you get when your priority is growth without a strong accompanying land ethos. Been to Southern California lately? I talked with a guy yesterday that said he lived in S. Cal. back when it was just full of small towns and land prices were fairly reasonable. Just like here.

  • chris keele September 27, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Well Santa Clara residents I am not surprised to hear the outcome of your attempts to expect the city council to restrain themselves from engaging in a race with St. George city and Washington city and Ivins to see if they can become the ” fastest growing city ” . It appears there must be a lot of backs to scratch in the real estate and building industries both, I know how it feels to go and spend the time to show the city council what would seem to be common sense practices not to squander our precious natural resources, and our desire to protect the sanctity of a peaceful existence to no avail, and they just forge ahead with their unbridled growth initiatives, you may feel as if your efforts were for not as we did here in St. George last month, but now we can do our best to make sure those in the city council that voted affirmative to this development be voted out, don’t forget who they are, and then mobilize, get out in your communities and tell anyone who will listen what your grievances are, friends, relatives, neighbors, fellow church members, etc.etc. it is our only recourse. If you don’t get involved you relinquish your right to complain when our communities start to look like southern California with their out of control crime, gang bangers, drugs, traffic congestion, lack of adequate infrastructure etc.

  • great success September 27, 2018 at 10:44 am

    Come on NIMBY’s. Seriously. Just because you bought a parcel of land and built a home on it, doesn’t mean you own everything else around it. You don’t own the nice view of the mountains. You don’t own a small town feel. That desert field isn’t yours. You get the idea. Tourism brings the money into this area. I personally think we need to diversify our economy. But going back to our great outdoors, you don’t own the right to have the bike trails to yourself, or have a picnic in snow canyon while outsiders can’t. You can always move elsewhere, but again the aforementioned applies. You can move to Beryl, but you are not entitled to a promise that Beryl will never change, just because you bought a small piece of land there. Hate to break it to you, but you’re just not as important as you think.

    • sheepobserver September 27, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      Yeah, it’s the, “I moved here, built my house five years ago (that obstructed the view of the guy who was here before me) so that I could forever have an unobstructed view.”. All these people moving here (after they built their house) are intruders? Short term rentals aren’t exactly the same as single family homes, I admit, but a house on vacant land is still just a house. It’s basically the same thing as far as the “view/open space” are concerned.

      All of that being said, I love that my property value keeps going up, but sigh every time I see a new development pop up. I moved here to be close to a city, but still have a rural feel. Hopefully prices continue to go up (I’m leaving if/when the house goes up another $100,000 (wishful thinking)), and hope to go find another beautiful rural area next to a large city. It’s been a highly successful investment strategy thus far.

    • Happy Commenter September 27, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      Reality is refreshing, thanks for expressing it so well, great success! There are a lot of selfish nearsighted people here and they need a dose of truth once in a while to get them to actually think for themselves.

      • iceplant September 27, 2018 at 1:13 pm

        Selfish and near-sighted? Wow.
        As if the original comment wasn’t condescending enough. You go and double down for him. No class.

        • Striker4 September 28, 2018 at 3:56 am

          stay classy peaplant

    • redrock4 September 27, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      Whether people are arguing for their backyard view or the integrity of nature and small town appeal, it ends up being the same thing. We all know what Southern California looks like in terms of traffic, crime, sprawl, etc. And people don’t want that. But it’s happening and I am not so sure you’ll end up with a home that’s worth 500K in a few years. So the benefits to the average resident of growth are minimal. You could move to Kayenta for an unfettered view. But Kayenta is just an amalgam of desert tryhards. Imagine what Edward Abbey would have said about that place. So, I don’t know what will happen. Perhaps we’ll all move somewhere else and perpetuate the cycle there.

  • Kilroywashere September 27, 2018 at 11:26 am

    No surprise. I feel sorry for the residents that will have non stop construction nearby.. Lots of dust, large equipment going in and out of their neighborhoods. Legally can start construction at 6am, so don’t sleep in. Want to sell your house during this time, be sure to disclose to the seller and hope they don’t walk away. That’s ok, Councilman Herb Basso doesn’t live there, why should he care? You can always move, your the idiot that decided to live next to open lane. Land development comes over people, and at the expense of peace of mind. ALL large developers get approval. SO ANON, you applaud the council here for not being bullied? – wow, what garbagio and ignorance on your part. As I have said many times the SC city government works in mysterious ways. When it comes to these things they are like a FISA court. Do you know what a FISA court is ANON? No Surprise, Nothing new. Another housing farm with extra added rentals on the way. Give it 6 more months and they will launder another project. Oh Ye Developers! we the people of Santa Clara are your bitch. Come on down, the pimping is good here.

  • Kilroywashere September 27, 2018 at 11:40 am

    Yeah GREAT SUCCESS new poster. What developer do you work for? Or construction company? What tripe. Or are you one of the SC council members in disguise.

  • The Rest Of The Story September 27, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Growth in this area is inevitable. I have no opposition to the growth if it is done smartly. However, I do take exception to the brazen, arrogent, and frankly, ignorant suggestion that construction traffic should be routed through the residential area. As if we don’t already have enough traffic through these areas as it is?

    There are always pros and cons to growth. A major advantage of the growth in this area has been the arrival of the beautiful new Harmon’s and the Cafe Rio. A major disadvantage is that access to the newly developed/improved areas has become an ever increasing problem. Access to the new developments is so insufficient that even large trucks going to Harmon’s are forced to go through the formerly quiet residential areas of Santa Clara.

    The main thoroughfare from the east is Pioneer Parkway. Parts of Pioneer Parkway are fine. But the section of roadway between Lava Cove and Red Mountain Drive is outdated and hazardous. The asphalt is in bad shape and the route itself is laid out like an old cow trail that was paved over. It is narrow, curvy, and uneven. There are no guardrails to keep people from going off the road into a ditch, or worse, onto the biking/running trail where people may be. It is also poorly lit at night, making it even harder to navigate after dark.

    The increased traffic on Pioneer Parkway is not the only issue. As Santa Clara and Ivins have both grown, there has been a natural increase in traffic, which has brought not only congestion, but noise, and hazard to pedestrians, including the many children who walk to school or go out to ride their bikes, scooters, or skateboards. Any further growth without sufficient extra-residential access will only make the neighborhoods of Santa Clara less safe to the residents as more people will be driving through them to get to these outlying areas that will undoubtedly continue to grow for several more years.

    One simple answer: Widen Pioneer Parkway. Similar to Red Hills Parkway, Pioneer Parkway was satisfactory 10+ years ago, but as the area has continued to grow, it has become inadequate and now needs addressing. Pioneer Parkway should be widened and even perhaps re-routed in areas (to make it less curvy/hilly) to allow better more direct access from Snow Canyon Parkway and Dixie Downs Drive — an existing main artery that currently provides access from I-15 as well as St. George.

    In my opinion, it should be a prerequisite to this plan that the cities of Ivins, St. George, and Santa Clara find a way to work with the State of Utah to get Pioneer Parkway widened, or even perhaps get an additional access roadway constructed through existing vacant land, BEFORE proceeding with more development in this area.

    • Redbud September 27, 2018 at 6:21 pm

      I do agree that section of Pioneer Parkway needs an overhaul, but I’ve driven through there many times and there is no need for a guardrail. If you can’t navigate on that road and follow the speed limit, then you shouldn’t have a license to drive. Only stupid people that can’t drive end up off the side of the road, and deservedly so!

      • The Rest Of The Story September 27, 2018 at 10:21 pm

        Redbud–thanks for the reply! Perhaps with the right kind of an overhaul, a guardrail wouldn’t be necessary. But can we at least agree that the current state of that section of roadway is sorely lacking in terms of the capacity it is expected to carry/serve? No solution is perfect, of course. But that road seems to have been neglected, when it is actually a major artery to the NW parts of this “metro area”. At least if we both acknowledge the need of some better solution, then we can come to the table in search of a remedy and work together to establish. That’s much better than the current approach, which appears to be that the councilmembers of all 3 cities seem to be burying their heads in the sand, rather than have this very difficult discussion! Again, thank you for the reply.

    • redrock4 September 27, 2018 at 6:22 pm

      Are there any examples of smart development that can serve as a template? Perhaps in some resort towns but they have problems in terms of infrastructure too. Could quality of life for the average person be incompatible with large scale growth?

  • Foxyheart September 27, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    What good is it to declare a certain part as open space? They themselves just said that open space will never be kept as that. They want the almighty tax dollar to line the city’s coffers so they can do more and more for the “resident’s”……..NOT. It will never be for the resident’s needs or wants.

  • Kilroywashere September 27, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Legacy families & legacy landowners – and can you blame them. Santa Clara has evolved into a cash cow. Give it up folks, the truth need not hurt. This is why I don’t waste my time at SC govt crap as well as missing the 2 min prayer session. Until locals organize on a massive scale, it doesn’t matter. With 70% LDS demographic or more, that isn’t going to happen either. LDS culture is just that way, not judging, but dogma of authority is not a core teaching. On that note learn to surrender and live with it. Only defense is to lawyer up if you can afford it and want to hassle with such issues. Else save yourself time. Small pitch battles with smaller developments can be won however especially if the land owner is from Ca. Good luck

  • Kilroywashere September 27, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    “questioning” the dogma of authority. Sorry for the error.

  • Redbud September 27, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    I have commented before in previous news articles about this development, and I said it would be approved no matter what, and I was right! All you complainers never had a say to begin with! Fools.

    • Kilroywashere September 27, 2018 at 8:08 pm

      Redbud see recent Ivins development story and my comments. Either GMTA, great minds think alike, or as the tube song goes, “I was a punk before you were a punk” On that note the drummer of my HS band became the first manager of Black Flag. I saw Black Flag’s first gig at the San Pedro Youth Center in 78 or 79. Oh well let’s not fight over credit. Lol

      • tazzman September 27, 2018 at 9:08 pm

        Hahaha. Never thought I’d see a Black Flag reference here. THAT is a sign I am getting old. I wasn’t a fan ’til the Rollins days anyway.

        • Kilroywashere September 28, 2018 at 12:01 pm

          Yeah they were pretty bad until he showed up.

  • tazzman September 27, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    What good is “open space” if it can be rescinded at the whims of the next big development opportunity.

    This is shortt-sighted by the SCCC and the people there should be outraged. This will destroy the character of that community.

  • utahdiablo September 28, 2018 at 9:59 am

    Tou all onmy “THINK” you have a voice in what goes on in your community….Enjoy Progress…and don;t forget to vote these POS out the first chance you get….

    • Kilroywashere September 28, 2018 at 12:15 pm

      So optimistic you are Dianlo, in a city where the mayor ran unopposed the last two terms. Maybe Ivins could organize but Santa Clara is gutless. I spent time attending government meetings, no one shows up. The lack of citizen oversight is pathetic. Yeah if there is a big issue people attend, otherwise the 70%+ Mormon demographic let’s the 99% Mormon government do their thing. Maybe in 10 years, but by then it will be too late Diablo. Santa Clara Ut will be like Santa Clara CA. And life moves on.

  • Mike P September 28, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    More people = more needed infrastructure = more services required = more local government = HIGHER TAXES

  • LunchboxHero September 29, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Why bother presenting it to the city council, if they were just going to vote it through anyway? What a waste of time. It wouldn’t have mattered what anyone said. They’re just gonna do what they want to do.

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