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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Proponents speak out on revised mall site proposal

May 09, 2018 02:03PM ● By Aspen Perry

Proposed building phase by Ivory/Woodbury. (Aspen Perry/City Journals)

By Aspen Perry  |   [email protected]

 As residents filled the auditorium of Bonneville Jr. High, during the first public hearing since the revised proposal was submittal by Ivory/Woodbury, there appeared to be a shift in public opinion as more residents spoke in favor of the revised proposal, than opposition.

John Walbrecht, President of Black Diamond Equipment and a Holladay resident, was among those who spoke in favor of the development, as he explained the hope of being able to move Black Diamond headquarters and retail to the proposed development.

“We are a big believer, this mixed-use opportunity… creates a vibrant market… we believe this is the best use of this space,” Walbrecht said to the council during the April 5 meeting. 

Under the revised plan the commercial development building heights have come down to meet the previously agreed upon 90 foot height, in addition to residence density being reduced from a potential maximum of 1,268 units to 1,060—a number that could further decrease, if there is more of a demand for commercial during the development of the site.

Under the revised proposal, the project phases have also shifted, with commercial development, homes, and trail closest to Highland Drive set to be developed in phase one of a three phase build out.

Additional residents in favor included the Holladay Citizens for Responsibility Development (HCRD), whose president told the council during the first public hearing, that while the decision to support the development was not unanimous, the majority of HCRD was in favor of seeing the Ivory/Woodbury revised proposal be developed. 

“The plan itself has improved… the end result we’re looking at is a result of compromise between public and private parties,” said Tim Schimandle, President of HCRD.

Schimandle further noted the majority of HCRD felt the proposal was a “best case scenario” for the 57-acre lot, which has sat vacant for almost a decade.

While the majority of public hearing attendees shifted from opponents to proponents, there were still residents who expressed concerns regarding traffic, height, and density despite revisions. 

“I think it’s a good plan, with lots of potential… but, too many people,” said resident Nancy Hollingworth, during the second public hearing held on April 12.

Another hot topic issue for residents’ hesitation in moving forward with the plan is the tax incentive attached to the land from prior development negotiations.

During the RDA meeting held on April 19, a handful of residents expressed concerns on the tax incentive—the terms of which are still being negotiated.

“I’m not a huge fan of TIF (Tax Increment Financing) myself,” Ryan Steele said to the RDA board on April 19. Steele questioned the effectiveness of TIF incentivizing more retail and restaurants.

One resident spoke in favor of the potential TIFs can bring to the community.

“I have seen the benefit of these types of agreements… I support these types of programs,” Dee Hansen said.

RDA Chair Lynn Pace provided a bit of background to explain the purpose of cities negotiating tax incentive as an effort to bring in development for land that would not otherwise be developed.

Pace further explained the tax revenues being discussed are only the growth—the increment that is up for negotiation, is only for the growth brought in by the developer, not any tax base prior to new development.

Pace left the RDA public hearing open, to encourage further public comment as the negotiations continue on the incentive terms for the development currently being proposed. 

“I will keep this matter open to continue to receive comment, as I expect this will evolve,” Pace said.  

For more information on future public hearings and council votes, residents are encouraged to visit the City of Holladay website.