Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

January 9, 2018
Mixed-use plan near airport in Erda draws fire from residents

Plan includes high density residential, commercial, and business uses 

Plans for a development west of the Erda Airport may fit Tooele County’s general plan, but some neighboring residents say the mixed-use development isn’t compatible with their idea of country living.

The Tooele County Planning Commission voted 4-2 to approve the concept plan for Skywalk, a conditional use planned unit development on approximately 247 acres south of state Route 138 and west of the Erda Airport.

The concept plan shows 114 homes on lots between 0.25 and 0.38 acres in a 42-acre area on the south end of the development bordering the north end of the Golden Gardens subdivision. The development plans also include commercial and office space, high density mixed-use, and medium density townhouses.

“The business area is designed so it will look like the downtown of a small town,” said Jay Nielsen, a representative of the developers.

“A development like this would compromise the integrity of the atmosphere that we have in Erda,” said Lori Witkowski. “This development is a great development, but not there. We ask that you consider our values.”

Witkowski also raised concerns that the development might hinder the ability to revitalize downtown Tooele City and that the area was not appropriate for high density residential use because of odors from a nearby egg farm and noise from the Erda Airport.

The Tooele County planning staff pointed out in their report on the concept plan application that according to the County general plan the property in the area of the development is anticipated to be a mixed-use residential/cluster.

“The proposed mixed-use master planned community is aligned with the anticipated future use for this area,” reads the staff report prepared by Jeff Miller, Tooele County planning staff.

Nielsen described the development as a walkable and bicycle friendly community with three miles of trails, open space, parks, and acreage set aside for residential lots, townhomes, a school or other civic buildings, a library, retail shops, restaurants, mixed-use development, light industrial, possible airport uses, and a substantial business park.

“You don’t have to say yes to this kind of development,” said Witkowski. “There are other options in Tooele County for the rural residential life we have.”

Deputy Tooele County Attorney Gary Searle told the planning commission that to deny a conditional use permitm the planning commission must cite the specific ordinance on which the denial is based.

“You don’t get to vote no willy-nilly,” Searle said. “You must say why. If it meets the ordinance, you have to vote yes.”

The planning commission voted 4-2 to approve the concept plan for Skywalk. Planning Commission members Lynn Butterfield, Michael Donivan, Michael Pressley and Cameron Spencer voted yes. Larry Brown and John Wright voted no.

The next step for Skywalk is an application for preliminary plan approval. Preliminary plan approval includes submission of an application with additional details not required for the concept plan. After review by planning staff, the preliminary application will be placed on the agenda a for a planning commission meeting.

To approve the preliminary plan the planning commission must find that the plan meets all the standards in the County land use ordinance for a conditional use permit. The County planning commission must also certify the final plan for the development, according to County ordinance.

Tim Gillie

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim covers education, Tooele City government, business, real estate, politics and the state Legislature. He became a journalist after a long career as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Tim is a native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University.

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