Buckle up Coalville!!!  Wohali’s second application was approved at Monday night’s city council meeting.  They now have a green light to build 125 homes and 303 nightly rental units, along with the rest of the support facilities listed on their application.

The Driver’s Seat

At the city council meeting on Monday, December 14th, the first item on the agenda was “Continued Review, Discussion and Possible Approval of The Wohali Master Planned Development and Phase 1 Preliminary Subdivision Plat”.  City staff and Wohali representatives took the wheel from the get go.  They reviewed the process the application had been through and went over the staff analysis. Don Sargent referenced the “findings, conditions and conclusions of law” for the development.  He stated that they were drafted by the developer and that he, Sheldon and other staff had reviewed them to “make sure they were consistent with the MPD provisions and also the development code standards and requirments.”

Confusing Navigation?

There was “some confusion” over whether or not the Ombudsman opinion agreed with allowing shared walls in the nightly rental units.  Council Member Rodney Robbins said he had spoken with the Ombudsman earlier in the day and quoted him as saying, “Based on what’s been presented to us, I don’t know how you could find that attached units could be allowed in the area where the proposal is being proposed.  Like our opinion says, it is in the AG Zone and MPD’s can’t have attached units in that zone.”  Council member Robbins quoted Coalville City Code and footnote 46 of the Ombudsman’s report as argument as to why the attached units aren’t allowed in the AG zone.  When Don Sargent disagreed and Council Member Cody Blonquist questioned if that would be considered ambiguity in the code, City Attorney Sheldon Smith responded by saying, “The confusion has come when some have tried to apply the regulation for dwellings to support facilities.  They’re totally different.  If these were dwellings, there’s no question, but with the other uses, it’s pretty clear that you can…I don’t think there is ambiguity.  It is answered in our code.”  The developer’s attorney, Wade Budge, stood up next and said he agreed with Don and Sheldon’s interpretation of the code and the Ombudsman’s report.

At the advice of our attorney, CFRG had requested that the city invite the Ombudsman to speak with the council and answer any questions they may have had regarding his opinion before making any final decisions on this application.   It’s unfortunate that this request was not realized.  It may have resulted in a different outcome and certainly would have cleared up any confusion over the issue of allowing shared wall nightly rental units.

Along For The Ride

Once the discussion over shared wall units had ended, there was little discussion over the rest of the application.  No additions were suggested to the conditions of approval that the developer had drafted for their own project.  A motion was made to approve the application and the council unanimously voted in favor of it. The council’s vote to approve this application is a green light for the developer to put in the 125 homes, 303 nightly rentals and all of the other support facilities listed on the application.

According to KPCW’s article about the meeting, city Attorney Sheldon Smith indicated that the council may still have some discretion as to the areas of concern with the application.  He is quoted as saying,  “At some point in time, the applicant’s gonna come in, and they’re gonna say, “Okay, we want 303 nightly rentals.  And here’s our plan for those nightly rentals.  And if they’re attached, you can say, “No based on what I see” which I don’t know what that would be. But you think you have found something in the law that says that they can’t have attached units, then that’s how the vote should be—not only you, but everybody else, that there’s a provision in the law that states that.”

However, from this point on, most of the remaining decisions for this project will be administrative.  This means they will be made by Coalville City Staff.  The council and citizens will just be along for the ride.

End of the Road?

Is this the end of the road for CFRG or the I Love Coalville Group?  Of course not!!!  We have a mission statement that drives our efforts:

“Coalville for Responsible Growth supports well-balanced and well-planned growth. We seek to honor Coalville’s rural heritage while welcoming new people and ideas to our community. We recognize that growth will inevitably bring change to our community, and we embrace the reality of change when it is done responsibly. We advocate for fairness to all parties impacted by growth – existing residents, future residents, local leaders, and the developers themselves. Development should be a collaborative effort that harmonizes the needs and visions of a community, with the desires of the builder.”  

Through the referendum, the community and our group let Wohali know of our concerns with the large development the first application encompassed. In a recent Park Record article linked here, it states that Jim Boyden “has said his team opted to withdraw a previous, larger proposal with the aim of being good neighbors and added that he didn’t think Wohali would change Coalville.” Together as citizens, we made our voices heard and it resulted in changes to this project that we find are a better fit for the community.

Our mission is one that is on-going, as there is more work to do now than ever before.  We believe:

“Land use planning and zoning should remain in the sphere of municipal control, supported and influenced by citizen input. We believe residents know their community best, and have a vested interest in how their community is shaped and influenced by growth.”

As pointed out in our previous article, our planning and zoning codes have been heavily influenced by the developer of this project. The Ombudsman’s revised opinion explains these code changes allow mixed-use and resort type development in any zone. The concerns of citizens and residents were overlooked in favor of what would “make a better project”.  Our system is out of balance and CFRG will continue to work at addressing these issues within our city.  Our focus is making sure that our elected city council representatives are prepared to be in the driver’s seat AND listen to the navigating voices of the citizens when the next development wants to make changes to our city’s map.