HURRICANE — Following a public hearing Thursday, Hurricane City Council members voted to approve a zoning change for approximately 7.1 acres of land north of Sand Hollow Reservoir from residential to commercial property.
This was one of three amendments Brett Burgess proposed pertaining to three parcels of Utah State School Trust Land being considered for a new development adjacent to the future intersection of Sand Hollow Road and Dixie Springs Drive. Burgess, who is listed as the agent for Utah State School Trust Land, said this development would be similar to the one in Coral Canyon, where he said there are minimal full-time residents.
He said he’s heard many recreators at Sand Hollow State Park express their frustration in having to go to state Route 9 for services. Commercial zoning would help relieve this burden, he said, as well as help alleviate some strain of traffic on Sand Hollow Road by offering dining options and gas stations where motorists would be exiting the road.
Several Hurricane residents spoke in opposition to these proposed amendments, with the main arguments being that further development would only add more strain to the infrastructure, jeopardize night skies and disrupt their quality of living.
The three amendments proposed were as follows:
- 26.7 acres located in the area of 2900 S. Sand Hollow Road to be changed from single family residential with up to eight units per acre to multiresidential types. This amendment was one of the main items residents came to discuss, but it was tabled at the beginning of the meeting.
- 7.196 acres located in the area of 2800 S. Sand Hollow Road from single family residential with up to eight units per acre to commercial.
- 16.8 acres located at a future west extension of Dixie Springs Drive at approximately 5130 West from single family residential with up to four units per acre to single family residential up to eight units per acre.
A main concern voiced by both residents and some council members dealt with the fact that Hurricane City is in the process of updating their general map plan, with those opposing the zoning changes saying they believed the changes should wait until after amendments to the general plan are complete. Planning Director Toni Foran said that isn’t expected to be done until January 2021.
While most residents spoke in opposition, one man who lives near the area said he was looking forward to having a gas station out there as well as other commercial property that would benefit the community.
However, another resident said an increase in residential and commercial development would bring a further strain to traffic that has already been overloaded with people accessing Sand Hollow State Park. He said traffic on Sand Hollow Road is backed up sometimes as much as a mile at times.
One woman referred to her previous residence in Northern California, where overdevelopment led to an uptick in crime, which caused her and her husband to move to Hurricane.
“If you want to catch up with California, follow his (Burgess’) plan,” she said.
Mayor John Bramall said he wanted to go on record as being in opposition to the zone changes. For one thing, he said, they are already in need of a four-lane road out there.
“To add any more traffic to that area until that’s accomplished, I just disagree with. I drive through there periodically, and it’s a problem,” he said. “So if we’re not going to have the infrastructure, let’s not develop ahead of infrastructure.”
Bramall went further to say that he doesn’t want any more eight-units-per-acre zoning in that area “period.”
Council member Nanette Billings also spoke in opposition to the amendments, saying it isn’t fair for people to purchase property only to have the zoning changed every time a developer comes in. She said they should wait until they have the general plan finalized.
Council members Darin Larson and Dave Sanders spoke in support of the zoning changes. Larson said that most of the properties in the area have had zoning changes.
Council member Kevin Tervort said he understood both sides, and though commercial development was inevitable, he said, he was inclined to not approve the zone changes due to an already existing inability to keep up with the infrastructure.
“Hopefully we can do something that helps everyone, but I don’t think we’re doing probably the right thing at the right time,” he said. “We need to slow down a little bit.”
Ultimately, the council made a motion to split the amendments and vote on them separately.
The vote to change the zoning for commercial use was approved, with all members voting in favor except for Billings. The vote to change the residential zoning to eight per acre was denied, with only Larson and Dave Sanders voting in support of the change.
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