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West Jordan Journal

New District 4 councilmember takes his seat

Feb 09, 2024 04:06PM ● By Tom Haraldsen

Kent Shelton now serves as District 4 city councilman in West Jordan. (Photo courtesy of Kent Shelton)

On the first day after officially taking his seat as a member of the West Jordan City Council, Kent Shelton was eagerly looking ahead at the tasks before him. 

“I just want to help out where I can,” he said. “I just want to be a valuable citizen of this great community. I’m grateful for this chance to serve.”

Shelton, who has lived in West Jordan with his wife Jenni for 26 years, has always been actively involved in school and community projects. Jenni Shelton is a crossing guard at Jordan Hills Elementary and Kent Shelton works as a commercial photographer. 

He has provided free photography services to West Jordan City, the West Jordan Chamber of Commerce, Copper Hills High School and West Hills Middle School. He has been a Reflections Contest Photography Judge and a Utah State Fair Photography Judge. He teaches occasional photography classes at the University of Utah, Ensign College and various community groups. He has helped with numerous Eagle Scout service projects. 

Kent and Jenni Shelton served on the Copper Hills High School Community Council. He honed his abilities in leadership with years of service on the Board of Directors for the Intermountain Professional Photographers Association and he was President of IPPA in 2017. 

He’s also served on the city’s Planning Commission, where the idea of running for office occurred to him. It was on the IPPA board that he first found a talent for helping people with opposing points of view in difficult situations. 

“I wasn’t happy with some of the decisions the council has made in the past, particularly with regard to the Welby West project on 90th South and 4800 West,” he said. “The development of high-density, single family homes just doesn’t fit with the neighborhood around it. It’s something I voted against when the zoning issue came before the Planning Commission. I had neighbors in the area who reached out to me and encouraged me to run for council, so I did.”

Of particular concern to Shelton is the growth in a community where transportation challenges are becoming an increasing burden. He said there needs to be more transportation availability around development, such as around TRAX stations. He’d also favor more development along the Redwood Road corridor.

“Everyone talks about the east-west traffic issues, which they have for years,” he said. “So when you pack even more homes in a small area and increase its density, there will be more cars to be serviced on already busy roads. We can’t keep letting developers do just whatever they want without really studying all of the impacts.”

He says typically higher densities can lead to less involvement and social investment in a community. He wants to see West Jordan strengthen its identity.

“I’m excited to begin working with my fellow council members,” he said, “representing our city as best we can. There has been some contention in the past among a few council members and I’d like to see us bridge that gap and find places and issues where we can all work together. I know we won’t always agree on issues, but I do know we can handle differences with respect, and I’m sure we will.”

The newly elected officials took their oaths of office (see page 18) on Jan. 3 at the Viridian Events Center. λ