The discussion at Monday’s Coalville City Council meeting included possible new resort-style development, code changes and rats!!! All of these things tie together.  Read on to find out how…

More Development Already?!?

During the consultant updates portion of the Coalville City Council Meeting, just after members of the city council had given direction that our code needed revisions to keep Coalville rural and from becoming a resort destination, staff member Don Sargent made the following announcement:

“I had an interesting call, today actually, from a developer back in Indiana. This guy called me, he got my name from somebody. But he knew I’m doing this – worked with county, so forth.   He is interested or his company is interested in doing a development in Coalville City and I want to make you aware of this. It’s up in the Allen Hollow area.  This development has not gotten off the ground, obviously at all.  He wants to meet with with me, with the mayor’s permission, or whoever needs to be involved in just looking at some of the concepts they have in mind.   They want to do a “Work, Live, Play Community”. Kind of the latest trend, particularly with the covid pandemic. You have a unit you live in, work in, and in that area of the community itself it has things you can do for recreation.  That is the latest trend we are seeing in the country now in a lot of areas of development, and that’s what they want to do up there.”

Opening Up The Rat’s Nest

This announcement was followed by a discussion that included some colorful components of Allen Hollow’s history.  Allen Hollow is the site of a former landfill and is located on or near coal mines.  As they were discussing pinning down the boundaries of the former landfill, Council Member Phil Geary recalled killing “7,000 rats up there”.  Council Member Don Winters added that he used to take his kids up there to shoot rats as well.  City Attorney Sheldon Smith brought up some of the legal ramifications of considering a development in that area.  The previously approved development for that location wound up in a lawsuit that nearly bankrupt the city.  A Park Record article from January 22, 2000 detailing the beginnings of the prior failed development can be accessed here. A secondary storage reservoir that was somehow tied to this development also failed and caused problems for the city.  For a little more information on the reservoir issue, check out this quote from the “Mayor’s Message” in the March 2005 edition of the Coalville City Newsletter (Howard Madsen was mayor at the time).

“We are now preparing a project that will repair the secondary reservoir and roadway in Allen Hollow.  For those unaware the reservoir failed and the roadway settled over a utility trench prior to acceptance of the project.  There has been no effort by the contractor or developer to make repairs and close the project.  We cannot allow this to go any longer therefore, the city is going to take the lead in this.”  You can download the complete newsletter here.

Untangling The Issues

Allen Hollow is currently zoned “Light Industrial”.  According to council and staff discussion at Monday’s meeting, it was open for debate as to whether or not a developer would be allowed to build residences up there.  In our most recent article Code Change Conundrum we pointed out how our newly adopted MPD (Master Planned Development) Code and the broad interpretation by the Ombudsman leaves all zones of the city wide open for nearly any type of resort development.  If this developer were to submit an application for a “mixed use development” under our current codes, our council’s hands may be tied and approval obligatory.

At the end of that article, CFRG posed three questions concerning our developer influenced MPD Code:

  • Were these the types of “unintended consequences” being referenced in the conversation between Coalville City Attorney Sheldon Smith and Wohali’s Attorney Wade Budge?
  • Could there be other potential troubles we’re not even aware of yet?
  • How many resorts will Coalville City approve before changes are made?

These questions are timely and crucial to consider.  Our council needs to act now and repeal the new MPD before another developer submits an application!