What the West General Plan means for youJun 30, 2022 09:19PM ● By Erin Dixon
By Erin Dixon | [email protected]
In May, the Salt Lake County Council stamped approval on a nearly 200 page West General Plan that took over 125 meetings across four years to create.
The plan covers an area on the west side of the valley that is in unincorporated Salt Lake County, which means the land is not part of any existing city. In fact, most of the land is privately owned by residents and businesses, the largest being Rio Tinto. Property owners have the first say in what happens on their land. So what’s the point of the plan if the county can’t develop the area on their own?
“A general plan is mandated by the state,” Jordan Carroll said, communications manager in the office of regional development.
“There wasn’t one before. This was very much needed. It had been attempted in the past but never completed or passed.”
A general plan is just what it sounds like. A foundation for future development to build on.
“General plans…are very broad and visionary,” Carroll said. “We can really look at preservation and development and transportation and conservation and recreation and trails on a regional level.”
To use trails as an example, if there is a high level idea, then perhaps there could be a connecting pathway across many cities, like the Jordan River trail. Development decisions would be made with plans that would benefit multiple cities at once.
If a property owner wants to do something different with their land than what it has now, they will need to approach the County Planning Commission and Council for input and approval. This is when the plan comes into play.
“Developers or land-owners don’t necessarily have to look at the plan,” Carroll said. “[But], the planning commission and County Council is going to refer to this and it would heavily impact their decisions.”
The plan is not something that will come into play very soon.
“This is set out [to influence the next] 30+ years at this point,” Carroll said.
No development will take place until landowners decide to do something. Rio Tinto will finish their mining before they make any changes.
The goals of the plan include conservation of water and environment, transportation, land use and housing preferences, parks and trails, economic growth, utilities to power the growth and public safety.
These goals include:
● Use water and energy conservation tools
● Protect the Great Salt Lake ecosystem
● Avoid ‘leapfrog development’ (using space wisely)
● Incorporate town centers
● Allow accessory dwelling units
● Mix in affordable housing and build more ‘middle-housing’ as well as traditional single-family homes
● Build connecting roads to established major highways, like I-215, Bangerter Highway, etc.
● Connect cities with trails and bicycle lanes
● Incorporate public transportation
● Plan events and programs to attract people to new spaces
The full plan can be viewed at slco.org/west-plan.