After a nearly 20-year wait, Tooele County has a new general plan in place after county commissioners formally adopted the document Tuesday night.
Under development and review since last July, the general plan focuses on land use in Tooele Valley for housing and business for the next 10 years, and includes a transportation plan that addresses transit issues.
The county’s old general plan was adopted in the mid-1990s with a minor update done in 2008. General plans are required by the state for all counties, but are advisory documents only and serve as a guideline for future zoning changes, residential, business and transportation development.
The land-use part of the new plan suggests clustered density near cities while preserving open space, scenic resources, access to public lands and agriculture. The transportation component includes building the Midvalley Highway, updating SR-36, connecting Droubay and Saddleback roads, and developing a trails network.
Discussed for years by officials and citizens, the plan’s consultants believe the Midvalley Highway alone won’t alleviate congestion on SR-36 as Tooele Valley’s population increases. The plan recommends three alternate routes: extending the Midvalley Highway to north of Interstate 80, extending SR-201 to Saddleback Boulevard in Lake Point, and developing Middle Canyon road to Herriman in Salt Lake Valley.
According to the plan, Tooele Valley’s population is projected to hit 71,000 by 2020 and over 91,000 by 2030. The plan’s consultants also project Tooele Valley’s population will near 120,000 in 25 years. Those consultants include Landmark Design, which specializes in community planning, and InterPlan, which addressed the general plan’s transportation component. Both firms are based in Salt Lake County.
A steering committee composed of landowners, developers and residents from unincorporated areas of Tooele County, worked with county planner Blaine Gehring and Landmark to develop the new general plan.
Starting last July, a series of scoping meetings, workshops and an open house were held to obtain public input for the new plan’s development. The plan cost $75,000 with a $25,000 grant from the Wasatch Front Regional Council to help pay for part of it. The balance came from the county’s municipal services fund.
The new general plan was approved by the Tooele County Planning Commission last December and forwarded to the county commission for final review and adoption. After six months, the commissioners adopted the document Tuesday night.
“One of the important things to recognize is there is a lot of work that goes into a plan,” said commission chairman Wade Bitner. “A lot of effort goes into each one, and that’s why it takes so long.”
The commissioners unanimously approved the plan with two additions. Gehring asked that an approximate 4-acre parcel west of the Benson Gristmill and south of the new Old Mill Elementary School, which is under construction, be included on the new general plan as commercial.
The second addition was a request by Commissioner Shawn Milne to include comments from area municipalities about the plan on the county’s website when the final plan is posted on the site. He asked for it to be done without additional expense.
Commissioner Myron Bateman said the county has been “very proactive” to update the plan.
“We’re going to have some direction so people can look at things and say this is a good plan and we’re all working together to address the future needs so we don’t put things or roads in the wrong places,” he said.
In an interview today, Gehring said he is “happy” to have the new general plan in place and ready to serve as an advisory document for future proposed zoning changes and residential, business and transportation development.
“The final version of the new general plan should be ready in about two weeks and will be posted on the county’s website,” he said.
The county’s website to review the new general plan is www.co.tooele.ut.us and go to Building and Development Services Division.