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West Jordan Journal

Jones Ranch area to have little less green space, more consistency in new development

Nov 30, 2020 04:31PM ● By Erin Dixon

By Erin Dixon | e.dixo[email protected]

The Jones Ranch plan, a 592-acre development on the west side of West Jordan, is inching forward. 

In September, the West Jordan City Council deliberated on the needs of the development, transportation support, density and how much commercial space to include. Most of the development is housing, with the maximum-allowed housing units, is 2,960 over the entire acreage. Thirty-five acres is open for commercial space. Nineteen percent of the entire space was left for green space, which was just under the city’s 20% general open space requirement. 

Because of this, the council needed to decide whether to change the green space requirement or refuse the development plan. 

In November, the council did approve an amendment that would allow 17% open space in future developments, therefore allowing the Jones Ranch development plan to progress. 

However, the new 17% requirement comes with a condition. 

City planner Scott Langford said while the code may allow for less green space, it is not a guarantee for every future developer. “It’s not just a free waiver,” he said. “If the council does choose to lower the open space requirement, it’s going to be based on specific findings and make it unique. West Jordan’s code [still] calls for an initial 20% gross open space, though it leaves some room for flexibility.” 

Duncan Murray, an attorney for West Jordan, reiterated that the zone change will, “[Make] sure that we are sufficiently able to communicate to the public the benefit to the city that is provided that each time a provision is modified especially in regards to density or open space.”

Langford said even with the possibility of reducing the green space in the Jones Ranch development, “the Jones Ranch has been approved at 19% open space, largely because they are going above and beyond in terms of improved open space and have committed to 35 acres of commercial space.”

Councilmember Kelvin Green suggested in a private interview that conceding for less green space in the Jones Ranch development was more than just about getting more commercial ground. 

“This wasn’t just a tradeoff of open space and green space; it was a tradeoff to have one developer develop 500 acres,” Green said. “If we would have voted [no on this ordinance] then the most likely course of action is that the Jones family would start selling 20 to 50 acres at a time to different developments.” 

Green continued by offering more insight into the development.

“We would have got a hodgepodge of neighborhoods,” he said. “Coordinating with one developed plan gives us better control over the area and develops it more consistently. [The green space] is going to be part of the city wide trail. It’s going to connect from Kennecott to at least Ron Wood park.”

Councilmember Kayleen Whitelock was unsure the change in code was wise. 

“I struggle in reducing green space because I think we need more not less,” she said. “So when we write that down, I just don’t want to invite developers to try to think of ways to come in and say, “I’ll give you this instead of green space,” because once green space is gone it’s gone.”

Ultimately the resolution passed unanimously, 7-0.

There were no resident comments during the public hearing. 

This article is part of the ongoing development for Jones Ranch on the west side of the city. continuation from the Journals story in Sept. See https://www.westjordanjournal.com/2020/09/16/328292/concerns-arise-in-city-council-about-new-jones-ranch-development-to-the-west for more details about this development. 

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