City Council approves Heritage Place development in Washington Fields

The Washington City Council hears a city resident speak in opposition to the Heritage Place project set for Washington Fields, Washington City, Utah, Dec. 12, 2018 | Composite image, photo by Mori Kessler, development map courtesy of Washington City, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY — A zone change allowing a development that has drawn opposition from surrounding residents in Washington Fields due to high-density and traffic concerns was approved Wednesday by City Council.

A plan for the proposed Heritage Plan development in Washington Fields, Washington City | Image courtesy of Washington City, St. George News

Heritage Place, which calls for multiple housing units and a patch of commercial space to be built on “the Nisson field,” was approved by the council in a 4-1 vote. It changes the area from agricultural zoning to a planned unit development.

That allows the city to have more input over what is allowed in the zoned area rather than regular zoning that allows for a permitted list of uses that do not need council approval.

“I’m worried about the impact this development will have,” Councilman Doug Ward said as he cast the only dissenting vote.

The development would be built on the field just south of Nisson Hill between 300 West and Washington Fields Drive. It’s the field that sits across the street from two of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapels on Washington Fields Road.

It will feature 178 residential units that include single-family homes, garden homes and townhomes. A 3.5-acre patch of commercial space is proposed for the corner of 2000 South and Washington Fields Road, according to the project’s site plan.

Originally rejected by the city’s Planning Commission, the developers made changes to the project the commission recommended. Some of the changes were shrinking the commercial space from an earlier planned 10 acres and removing some residential units.

While the City Council appeared satisfied with the changes presented by developers in a Dec. 12 council meeting, the traffic and commercial space remained an issue for neighboring residents during a public hearing the same night.

The field in Washington City where the proposed Heritage Place development would be built, Washington City, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News

Read more: Washington City considers development in ‘the Fields’

They spoke against the commercial space and the how traffic in the area could be impacted. Concerning the commercial space, many residents have long opposed any form of commercial space being established in “the Fields” as they claim it will lead of a negative change in the quality of life they enjoy in that part of the city.

During Wednesday’s meeting, discussion included the requirement of acceleration and deceleration lanes leading into and out of the project access point onto Washington Fields Road. Another deceleration lane leading into the project’s commercial space was also addressed.

While the developers were aware of the city’s requiring the deceleration lanes, it was the first time they had heard of the acceleration lane, which they said could pose some complications to the project.

Councilman Jeff Turek said he believed the matter had already been discussed and understood with the project’s consulting traffic engineers, but even two members of the council said it was their first time hearing about it as well.

Despite some mild frustration on the developers’ part, it was determined the acceleration lane was required by city code and wasn’t addressed before due to a misunderstanding between developers and city staff.

The field in Washington City where the proposed Heritage Place development would be built, Washington City, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News

Talk of the lanes lent to the larger issue that has dogged the Heritage Place project.

“I really feel traffic has been the biggest issue,” Council Daniel Cluff said as he noted the lingering concerns. He also said he worried about the impact to 2000 South.

However, Cluff also said he felt an overall issue concerning a property owner’s right to use their land as they desired.

It’s always a challenge for city officials to figure out how to accommodate the city’s present needs with its future ones, Turek said.

The addition of acceleration and deceleration lanes on Washington Fields Road was made a condition of the council’s approval of the zoning change.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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16 Comments

  • Craig January 12, 2019 at 9:36 am

    I worry we are nearing uncontrolled growth in the area. It’s great for the city councils to see more tax money, but is good for us long term?

  • tcrider January 12, 2019 at 9:49 am

    If its anything like Washington Cities other developments, there will be flooding to adjacent property owners and
    the rest of Washington city will probably be paying for everything, just like the developments that are causing the floods on Main Street
    every year and also like Washington city taxpayers paying for Green Springs Golf Course for ever and the golf course not sharing the
    trails for pedestrians and bicycles, welcome to Washington city.

  • FowRizzle January 12, 2019 at 10:36 am

    How pathetic. Our voice does not matter.

  • cv_t-bird January 12, 2019 at 11:46 am

    This is extremely frustrating, no matter how much the surrounding neighborhoods voice their concerns to the city council it does not seem to matter. The only dissenting vote was from Councilman Doug Ward who took the time to sit down with those that will be impacted by this a few weeks ago. The rest of the city council members could not be bothered to attend or hear the concerns, we will be sure to remember this come re-election time! And while I agree that growth is inevitable, this kind of growth is ridiculous. The developer admitted that they could not afford to meet the original demands of the city and that the only way they would make money on the project is to have the high density and negatively impact the rest of the area.

  • Walter1 January 12, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Except for Doug Ward this is all about a good old boy City Government controlled by landowners and developers. I have watched this play out time and time again at Washington City council meetings where residents voices are not listened to and for the greater part completely ignored. This is our fault Washington citizens. We keep voting in the same special interest people to the council. They truly do not care about what is best long term for our residents. Make no mistake the only solution to better government is to vote them out! Do your homework and choose wisely the next election. We need people who truly care about the future of our city and not just favoring developers wishes. Looks like a whole lot of conflicts of interests are going on here.

  • Kilroywashere January 12, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    Ivins, Santa Clara, & St George are in the same boat. You have to assume money talks and kickbacks through various connections are part of the equation. Not outright bribes or payoffs necessarily, but rather favors to family, friends, and strategic supporters. Nothing new here, and nothing uniquely different from similar municipalities across America. If you want to change the situation, you need a massive push in local awareness, establish a single Washington County Citizens oversight group – rather than setting up by individual cities, and back candidates that support positive development, and promote a pro citizen agenda in lieu of caving in to business developers 90% of the time. THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO CHANGE THE PARADIGM.

  • iceplant January 12, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    As much as I hate to admit this, I’m genuinely interested in watching these developers and their mayors/city-managers/board member families take a huge hit when the next recession hits. And it is coming, rest assured.

    • mesaman January 12, 2019 at 8:32 pm

      I would agree on the probability of another recession. I’m also convinced that this is why developers and realtors are busy “fattening the calf” with enormous increases in values of building, selling acreage, and renting units.

      • Comment January 13, 2019 at 2:47 pm

        “free markets” in action m&m. Gotta do the ol’ pump and dump just like they did before the last recession. The trick is to dump what you’ve got before prices crash. It’s bit like playing ‘hot potato’ idn’t it?.

    • Redbud January 13, 2019 at 3:42 am

      Iceplant there will be another recession for sure, but it won’t come as soon as people think. It won’t happen until at least 2024. At that point Trump will no longer be President, and that’s about the time the rug will be pulled out from under us.

      • iceplant January 13, 2019 at 12:58 pm

        Nobody was talking about your dear leader, comrade. You fail.

      • Comment January 13, 2019 at 2:41 pm

        So, Red, you’re saying your “glorious leader” will trash the economy on his way out just like a certain Dubya (Baby Bush II), and leave a great big mess for dems to clean up just like in 2008?

        • Redbud January 13, 2019 at 10:34 pm

          No that’s not at all what I’m saying. I am saying there is not going to be a recession until at least that time. It is possible enough people could be fooled into electing someone else, be they Democrat or Republican, who could attempt to undo all the wonderful accomplishments Trump has facilitated throughout his majestic Presidency.

  • Thomas January 13, 2019 at 11:48 am

    The scariest word around is “rezoning”. Your voice doesn’t count… look what happened to Proposition 2. Residents of Hurricane are fighting the same losing battle. After a public hearing, where residents nearly unanimously voiced their objections to a 3,500 acre multiuse rezoning project, the Planning Commission rejected the request 4-3. However, the City Council has yet to vote. Want to bet what will happen?

  • utahdiablo January 13, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Y’all only think you have a voice in what happens ….the almighty Utah Greed Machine at full steam ahead…enjoy gridlock like Las Vegas and Southern California as no one, other than a very few of us, attended these planned Washington City Commission meetings for years and years while the developers and city council railroaded our concerns down the toilet….enjoy the future, you asked for it

  • Walter1 January 13, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    Lots of endless greed brought to you by the Dixie Pay to Play Good Old Boy Politics as Usual Club. I have seen this before in other failed urban areas. I can tell you it doesn’t end well! Then again I don’t think the city leaders really care beyond their own interests. Money Rules. Very Sad!

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