Santa Clara City Council amends General Plan Land Use Map in preparation for new resort

ST. GEORGE — Big changes may be on the horizon for Ivins and Santa Clara.

In a meeting Wednesday, the Santa Clara City Council voted to amend the city’s General Plan Land Use Map to allow for a mixed-use clustered housing project. The project – called Black Desert – includes an 18-hole golf course, hotels, trails and housing located near Entrada.

The Black Desert project is managed by ENLAW and consists of 600 acres of development, with 298 acres existing in Santa Clara and 302 acres in Ivins. Development use accounts for approximately 120 acres in Santa Clara and will include about 1,937 low- to medium-density dwelling units.

Santa Clara City Planner Bob Nicholson said the project is a “distinctly separate” extension of Entrada that will bring in “a lot of new neighbors.” 

The Santa Clara General Plan touches on the importance of preserving unique, sensitive areas, like the lava fields, Nicholson said. Policy 9.6 of the General Plan states: “The city will encourage development in the Lava Fields to retain a minimum of 50 percent of the beds intact, and will specifically preserve the ridges and the visible high points.”

The Santa Clara City Council zoning amendment proposed and approved for the Black Desert resort project in Santa Clara, Utah | Photo courtesy of the City of Santa Clara, St. George News

ENLAW has shown an effort to preserve the ridges and many of the high points of the lava fields, Nicholson said. Black Desert includes 178 acres of open space in Santa Clara, accounting for 61% of the total area within the city. Although some pristine lava beds will be removed as part of the proposal, the project does meet the General Plan’s requirement of lava bed preservation. 

Despite already meeting the requirements, the Santa Clara City Council would like to see Black Desert make a concerted effort to preserve the lava beds near Pioneer Parkway – known as Area 6 – as they are “highly visible and beautiful,” according to the staff report. In order to preserve the lava beds in this section, the council has recommended transferring some development from Area 6 to other regions.

“Both cities, I think, have a goal to preserve as much of the lava beds as we possibly can,” Nicholson said.

ENLAW is currently working with a golf course designer to work on the layout of the course. More details will become available as the rezoning application is considered, including what the housing will look like and what types of housing will be available, Nicholson said. 

The next step for developers is applying for a zone change from planned development residential to mixed use. The Santa Clara City Council rezoned the land to planned development residential in 2007 for the Knolls Pasture project, which is no longer being pursued due to the 2008 recession.  

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