OPINION — After attending every public meeting about the proposed Lost Trails development at the Cove I have one big question: What is really going on?
Mr. Thomas, the developer, shows a video of his Wild west show in Jackson Hole which appears to be from the ’70s or ’80s. I have yet to see a building. I see a tent-type cover and people sitting at picnic tables.
How could a reasonable and educated person look at a tent and picnic tables and then think he has the knowledge or expertise to build a $300 million development that will enhance our community? He admitted on the record he has no such experience.
If you read the history of his venue in Jackson Hole (link here), the developer merely bought the business from his parents and really didn’t create anything.
The Hurricane Chamber of Commerce’s praising of the developer and the potential jobs his enterprise might create is laughable. He says it will keep their children in Hurricane. Really? You do realize the jobs will primarily be wrangling horses (aka shoveling manure), cleaning hotel rooms and waiting tables.
These jobs are honorable, but I don’t think they are professions that are going to give your children a wage that will keep them from looking elsewhere for jobs.
The hundreds of Hurricane residents who have attended the meetings and the 1,125 who have signed petitions against this development being built in the middle of our neighborhoods have yet to hear from our city leaders regarding any logical, compelling or legal reason why this property should be changed from residential to multiuse. Councilman Kevin Thomas appeared angry and told us loud and clear that the council has the right to change the General Plan map and if we don’t like it we don’t have to re-elect him.
Multiuse includes high density housing, commercial and industrial. Who else is involved in this? What is the real desired result? Why are the voices of the most directly affected neighbors living in the 600 North corridor being ignored? Why are the safety and traffic issues being belittled?
The only two access roads for this development go through residential neighborhoods which does not meet the general plan, or as we understand it, safety codes. The much-talked-about access through BLM land to create the needed emergency access has yet to be validated. Desecrating protected public land to create an emergency access road for a tourist venue that could easily be placed somewhere else is wildly irresponsible!
The developer said he is only interested in building the Wild West town portion of this development, which would be 50-80 of the 340 acres. What then becomes of the rest of this acreage that has been changed to multiuse? What other developers are lined up to purchase the rest of this property and utilize it for high-density, commercial and even industrial. What is really going on?
Some members of our city council appear eager to grant this sweeping land use change now and ask questions later. Why? Some of them appear angry that we are opposed to this tourist entertainment venue being permitted in our neighborhoods. Why? Is this not how our government is supposed to work?
We elect officials and when a matter of great concern arises which directly affects our lives and enjoyment of our property it is our right and duty to let our elected officials know. We have done so through petitions, letters and speaking at public meetings. Why are we being ridiculed for doing so?
This is a serious change to the General Plan and the most directly affected neighbors are pleading with our city council to say “No.” The Planning Commission, whose job it is to study a proposal and recommend to the City Council, has already said “No.” Why is our City Council even continuing this conversation? The question remains: What is really going on?
Submitted by PENNY R. JAMES-GARCIA, Hurricane, Utah.
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