Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

October 13, 2020
Tooele County Proposition #2: Adobe Rock Ranch

A vote against Proposition #2 will overturn the zone change approved for Kenncott’s Adobe Rock Ranch in Lake Point 

The future of a planned community in Lake Point lies in the hands of Tooele County voters.

A yes vote for Tooele County Proposition #2 is a vote to keep the planned community zone designation for the Adobe Rock Ranch development. 

Adobe Rock Ranch is 1,444 acres owned by Kennecott Utah Copper owned by Kennecott in the Lake Point area, including land around Adobe Rock.

The property was rezoned from a combination of agricultural, rural residential, manufacturing and multiple use zones to the planned community zone by the County Commission in Oct. 2018

However, Tooele County residents opposed to the Adobe Rock Ranch development were successful in gathering enough signatures to place the rezone on the November 2020 ballot.

A no vote is a vote to overturn the Oct. 2018 decision of the County Commission and return the previous zone designations to the property.

Adobe Rock Ranch would add 4,710 residential units to northeastern Tooele Valley with an average density of 3.3 units per acre. The development would include a variety of residential, commercial, retail, and open space to be built out over a 15-20 year period, according to Jeff Stephenson, with Kennecott Utah Copper.

Adobe Rock Ranch would be developed according to a master plan to include a variety of neighborhood concepts with varying residential density:

• 20 acres to be highway commercial with a wide range of commercial, light industrial and flex-type uses with no residences

• 359 acres with a mix of residential, office, commercial and similar uses. Uses in this area may be mixed vertically or horizontally, with 30% of the acreage to be dedicated to trails, open space, local parks, etc. Housing would average seven units per acre in this area. 

• 263 acres with a range of higher-density housing types, including townhomes, apartments and condominiums, again with 30% of the acreage to be dedicated to trails, open space, local parks with an average density of five units per acre. 

• 441 acres with single-family residences that would take on a variety of forms, styles and densities, all laid out in coordinated neighborhoods. The net density would average two units per acre laid out in clustered development, and again 30% of the acreage would be dedicated to trails, open space, and local parks.

• 361 acres of primary park space including natural lands, major trail corridors, and two major parks — at the factory ruins and Adobe Rock. Smaller parks, trails, and open space are included in the plans for the other land use areas.

“Kennecott wants to drop a Daybreak-style community into a very small section of land around Adobe Rock,” said Richard Cunningham, one of the sponsors of the referendum to overturn the zone change for Adobe Rock.

Defeating Proposition #2 will require Kennecott to come back with a new plan that is more responsible and conducive to an area that includes things like horses, chickens, cows and water and traffic problems, according to Cunningham.

“Imagine if every one of these new Kennecott homes in Lake Point has 2 cars; this will add 9000 cars to Highway 36 right where we enter and exit the county. This rezone is too broad and gives many benefits to, and yet very little requirements of, the developer. Its approval was done without addressing critical issues such as infrastructure. Nothing has been done to address room for the additional 9,000 cars, let alone the sewer concerns! In order to build these houses, additional sewer infrastructure will need to be built, until then where will the sewer go? Who will pay for the improvements? And what about water? Some places in our county are already dealing with water restrictions. Another concern is the additional taxes we will all pay for roads, schools, and increased law enforcement services as crime levels increase, which has already begun,” wrote Proposition #2 sponsors in their official argument against approval of the proposition.

When it comes to comparing Adobe Rock Ranch, Stephenson does not hesitate to say that Adobe Rock Ranch will be a well planned community, but when it comes to visualizing putting Daybreak into Lake Point there are some differences, he said.

Adobe Rock Ranch has an average density of 3.3 residences per acre while Daybreak averages close to six units per acre. Adobe Rock Ranch will have 4,700 residential units at buildout. Daybreak is planned to have 20,000 units at build out.

“That’s half the density and one-fourth the size of Daybreak,” Stephenson said.

In meetings back in 2018, Kennecott addressed some of the concerns raised by opponents of their development.

Kennecott has enough water rights for Adobe Rock Ranch, although it may require popping water into the County from Salt Lake County.

Kennecott plans to work with the Stansbury Park Improvement District for culinary water distribution and sewer service for Adobe Rock Ranch, Stephenson said.

“We will use water that Kennecott already owns,” he said. “We will change where it is used.”

When it comes to traffic, Stephenson said Kennecott has ex[erience working with the Utah Department of Transportation on other development projects.

Kennecott already worked with UDOT on land for the MidValley Highway exit from Interstate 80. Kennecott will continue to work with UDOT on plans for the much talked about extension of state Route 201 into Tooele County, Stephenson said.

The concept plan for Adobe Rock Ranch shows a future extension of Beeman Way, which runs north for a short distance from state Route 138 near the Tractor Supply Store, to I-80 with an eastbound-only on ramp. Kennecott said they would support a full interchange at I-80 and Beeman Way, but both plans depend on UDOT approval, said Stephenson.

Utah and Tooele County are going to continue to grow. Referendums will not stop growth, said Stephenson.

“The University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute estimates that Utah’s population will double within 40 years. Tooele County is near Utah’s population center, a beautiful environment, experiencing strong economic growth and inevitable population growth,” reads the rebuttal to the argument against Proposition #2.

“Growth will bring problems like water, sewer, and transportation,” said Stephenson. “Solutions to these problems are not impossible. They may be hard ones, but when we all sit down together we can solve problems like this.”

Opponents of Proposition #2, say they want a better plan.

“As Tooele County residents, we all have a chance to hit pause and reset to have a better plan for growth and infrastructure. … Now is the time for you to stand up for Tooele County and vote against the Kennecott P-C zone change in Proposition #2. Let’s take back control of our future and start over with a better plan in this critical time as Tooele County grows.,” reads their argument against approval of Proposition #2.

The complete arguments for and against Proposition #2 may be read on the Tooele County Clerk’s website at tooeleco.org. Select “Elections and Information” from the menu on the left side of the clerk’s home screen. Then select “Election Information” and scroll down to the “Arguments” menu.

 

Tim Gillie

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim has been writing for the Transcript Bulletin since October 2017. In February 2019 he was named as editor. In addition to being editor, Tim continues to write about Tooele County government, education, business, real estate, housing, politics and the state Legislature.A native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University, Tim became a journalist after a 20 year career with the Boy Scouts of America.

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