With trepidation, St. George Council OKs grocery store at Snow Canyon Commercial Center

ST. GEORGE — The St. George City Council approved an ordinance last week to add a grocery store to the list of potential uses at the Snow Canyon Commercial Center, located at the southwest corner of Snow Canyon Parkway and 2000 North. However, that didn’t remove a number of concerns from council members.

L-R: In this file photo from 2019, Jimmie Hughes and challengers Dannielle Larkin and Gregg McArthur meet during a candidate forum held at Dixie State University | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Councilwoman Dannielle Larkin said at Thursday’s meeting that she wondered whether the council should approve the amendment to the ordinance or table it for a later date. Larkin’s concerns all stemmed from one theme: low impact.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into highlighting the desert along Snow Canyon Parkway,” Larkin said.

Among her concerns, some of which were shared by other council members, were lighting, aesthetics and operating and delivery hours. Many of these concerns were sparked, or echoed by, letters from area residents who noted the traffic, noise and proximity to two other grocery stores: Lin’s Marketplace and Albertsons.

The applicant, Neil Walter, said he and his team had approached their work with “a high level of sensitivity.”

“We’re doing everything we can to cooperate with the city to resolve these issues,” said Walter, chief executive officer of investment at NAI Excel. “We’ve probably spent six of seven months trying to work through the best design and the best outcome.”

Larkin said she wanted to see the lights in the parking lot rise no higher than 20 feet. She added that people in the neighborhood did not want noisy trucks behind their houses at night, suggesting that, if a grocery store goes in there, it should not be open past 11 p.m.

On the subject of aesthetics, Walter said that the back of a second store would face Snow Canyon Parkway.

“You don’t want a parking field facing Snow Canyon,” Walter said. “This will create a lower visual impact.”

Larkin said she has seen that approach go awry before.

“We say it will look decorative,” Larkin said, “but it just ends up looking like the back of a building.”

In this file photo from February, the St. George City Council’s newest member, Curtis Vardell, at the conclusion of a special meeting at City Hall, in St. George, Utah, Feb. 10, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

Larkin suggested that more discussion was needed. Councilman Vardell Curtis added that he didn’t think the development should return to the Planning Commission, of which he is also a member.

“The development has already been approved,” he said. “We’re just talking aesthetics at this point.”

Councilman Gregg McArthur added that the council had received a lot of letters and comments from the community.

“We will have commercial development there,” said McArthur. “If not a grocery store, it will be some other business with the same square footage.”

“Whatever goes in there,” McArthur continued, “we want to make sure it fits.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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