The rezone request and master development agreement for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ temple development in Erda will be held over for a second reading and possible action at the next Tooele County Commission meeting.
That’s what the County Commission decided after discussing the plans for the temple development at their meeting on Tuesday night.
Suburban Land Reserve, a tax-paying real estate investment affiliate of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, submitted a request to rezone undeveloped land owned by the Church that it has historically used for agricultural purposes on the northwest corner of state Route 36 and Erda Way from RR-1 to a planned community zone.
The proposed plan submitted with the rezone request shows 32 acres of open space, walking trails, and parks, a pioneer cemetery, a farmers’ market area, the temple and a variety of housing styles totalling 446 units.
The overall gross density of the housing would be 2.66 units per acre, but that includes open space and the temple grounds. Lot sizes in the accompanying plan ranged from half-acre to 4,000 square-feet.
The planning commission voted 5-0 to send a favorable recommendation for the rezone request to the County Commission.
The County had received about 700 emails on the rezone request, according to Jeff Miller, Tooele County planning staff.
Around 93% of the emails have been in favor of the project with about half of those referencing only the temple with no comment about the proposed residential development, he said.
Those opposed to the residential development have largely cited opposition to higher density housing, expressing a desire to keep the area zoned RR-1. In recommending approval for the rezone, the planning commission also suggested that the County Commission should attempt to negotiate for lower density housing in the area.
County Commissioner Kendall Thomas said he would like to see the residential development separated from the temple grounds.
“It’s two different projects,” he said.
Benson Whitney, representing Suburban Land Reserve, said the residential development is needed and was planned as it is for several reasons.
The Church wants lots of eyes on the temple for security, the residential lots at the density planned will help pay for sewer and water infrastructure, and the mix of lots will allow people from all walks and stages of life to live near the temple.
Whitney estimated the average price of a single family home in Utah to be between $330,000 and $350,000.
There will be homes in the temple development that will start in the high $200,000s to low $300,000s, he said.
County Commissioner Shawn MIlne said the concept plan for the development has gone through several revisions since the first administrative meeting the county had with the developer.
Milne said the developer had already reduced the number of homes by around 60 and included buffer areas near existing homes.
Miller said after the rezone is approved, the next step in the planned community zone process is the approval of the community structure plan.
Approval of the community structure plan would involve public hearings and approvals by both the planning commissioner and the county commission.
The County Commission decided to consider Tuesday night’s meeting as the first reading of the rezone request. A second reading and action on the request could take place at the next County Commission meeting.