Concerns arise in City Council about new Jones Ranch development to the west
Sep 16, 2020 02:48PM
By Erin Dixon
This map is a preliminary plan of what the Jones Ranch development will look like, with areas for commercial and several different neighborhoods with very low to medium density.
By Erin Dixon | [email protected]
Another west-side development is coming soon. 592 acres between 8600 S and 9000 S, overlapping Bacchus highway (U-111), is property named Jones Ranch.
“[It will be] largely residential, some open space in the wash and some commercial acreage,” West Jordan Chief Administrative Officer Korban Lee said.
The mayor's office held a discussion during the city council meeting in August to discuss the basics of this development: Transportation, commercial, water and density.
All council members voiced concerns with each category of the plan from Ivory Homes.
“This is a significant portion of the city,” Lee said. “This makes up a big chunk of the remaining land we have in the city. The 9000 South is really the only corridor that goes east–west throughout the entire city.”
All six present council members (CM Jacob arrived later) voiced concerns about the transportation needs for potentially 10,000 residents.
Councilmember Kayleen Whitelock said the roads surrounding the development have plans in place, but the state nor city have the funds to improve them yet.
“I think 9000 South is going to have issues,” Whitelock said. “Currently, the closest to a freeway we have on the west side is Bangerter highway; a lot of that is funded. U-111 isn’t funded. Mountain view, a lot of that is funded. Yes, there are plans to widen 9000 South, but it isn’t funded.”
The preliminary traffic study said the main roads surrounding the development would have minimal impact. Councilmember Kelvin Green did not believe the study results.
“When we’re building a city, 600 acres with 3,000 units, that’s four times the city of Fillmore,” Green said. “We’re building a city out there. In today’s terms, yeah. When we start adding Woods Ranch, Jones Ranch, Amazon, Project Megatron, Project Vast and whatever else we’re trying to throw in on the west side, U-111 is not going to handle it.”
The current water pressure can only provide water to 40 more homes on this property.
“For them to move forward, the city needs to build the Zone 5 tank,” Lee said. “If tanks are built in zone 6 or 7, the homes can get built. Our water master plan has those tanks on schedule. If Ivory wants to build those sooner, certainly they can enter into a pioneering agreement and speed up the timeline.”
Funding for these tanks can be covered in city impact fees. When a developer asks for additional city infrastructure to serve their development, city leaders charge the developer fees incurred by the construction.
Construction is scheduled to begin on Zone 5 tank in 2023.
The density of housing varies across the development with some large lots on the western border, along with one-fourth-acre lots, to small and close but detached homes.
Whitelock is concerned with any close-proximity homes.
“People don’t want the high density,” she said. “And currently, the pandemic has shown that high-dense areas are being impacted more. Space is important for many reasons.”
There are no high-density apartment or condo buildings zoned on the current plan.
“[But], because there’s no multi-family, there’s no big apartment complexes, I'm more or less OK with it,” Councilmember Zach Jacob said.
Thirty-five acres of the total land are currently zoned for commercial space.
Jacob was adamant that the space be held for commercial only, and not be zoned for more housing.
“I understand the idea of a study being done of ‘existing residential plus this residential equals this much commercial,’ but that’s not where it stops,” Jacob said. “There’s a lot more development to happen on the west side, not just in our city (Olympia Hills).”
He compared the land potential to the recent commercial and high-density buildings in Sandy.
“The west side of Sandy city—30 years ago—that was all fields except for South Towne Mall,” he said. “There was proposal after proposal of development of that land, and Sandy city said no. We’re holding this for commercial and our future downtown. There are still high-rises proposed as part of that. If we don’t hold the line, we won’t get what we planned for.”
On the other side, Councilmember Chris McConnehey is wary of planning traditional commercial space. What we’ve seen is the traditional commercial hasn’t worked as well. A lot of places have gone dark; a lot of places are struggling to find tenants. I don’t know what’s going to work, especially as things are changing.”
“When we were having prior conversations, the idea was to have a coordinated effort with the developer to put in some destination retail, something that’s a draw,” McConnehey said.
Green expressed a different concern over the commercial space.
“What I’m concerned about with the design is that it’s not walkable; it’s not part of the community,” Green said. “There’s got to be a draw that people can walk or ride their bikes to it.”
Communications Officer Tauni Barker said nothing is happening yet, and planning will take some months to finalize and begin.
“The city is waiting for the developer to provide a draft of the Master Development Agreement for review,” she said. “Once final revisions to the document are made and then approved, the developer will move to the next phase of work.”
Construction on the project is dependent on the contractor but is likely to occur in early 2021,” Barker said.