What an eventful meeting with lots of public comment on both sides of the issue. The details are being nailed down and we are close to a final decision on the Wohali application #2.
Work Session Summary
This meeting was a continued Public Hearing and Work Session for the Proposed Wohali MPD and Phase 1 Preliminary Subdivision Plat. The work session was mostly a discussion of Coalville’s culinary and secondary water. The Council and Mayor asked questions relating to where the Wohali Development would get the water for their golf course(s), homes, rentals and other amenities if approved. All of these questions have been asked in the past, but no one has had a definitive answer and the response has changed more than once.
At this meeting, it was stated by city staff that Wohali would be responsible for providing their own secondary water for the golf course, but the city would need to provide culinary water for the homes and supplemental accessory structures, just as it does for any other resident or developer. The secondary water for the homes and accessory structures in the project could be obtained by Wohali bringing water shares to the table, or paying a fee in lieu of to the city, as stated in the Coalville code. It was unclear if the developer agreed with this new water arrangement as they stated they felt they should be treated like any other developer or project in the city.
Other items were discussed during the work session including roads and traffic and the status of the advisory opinion. Both developer and city have been very cooperative with the Advisory Opinion process and we are very appreciative of this. The council was advised to hold off on making a decision at this meeting in anticipation that the Ombudsman’s advisory opinion will be received prior to the council making a final decision on how the 303 nightly rentals and other support structures fit in the city’s AG Zone.
Continued Public Hearing
Many public attended this meeting and it appeared to be a pretty even mix of those that supported the project and wanted to see the entire second application approved and those who were still questioning the legality of portions of the new application and the city’s ability to provide adequate resources to the new proposal while still serving the existing residents. This public hearing was different than most previous ones in that there was no enforced time limit on the speakers and the public was not directed to keep their comments to the legal/code issues in question for the application.
The members of the public who still have concerns about the project had letters read into the meeting or spoke about how the large number of nightly rentals and accessory structures don’t fit with the city’s definition of the AG Zone. There are still concerns over many of the findings needed for the application’s approval. The attorney for CFRG spoke and pointed out there were still things that hadn’t been discussed and codes that hadn’t been met or followed. She advised the council to wait for the advisory opinion.
The majority of the comments coming from those in favor of approving Wohali’s Second Application were about their belief in general property rights, the good intentions of the developer and their issues with the CFRG group. While a few legal points were brought up concerning the fact that any ambiguities in code need to be decided in favor of the developer, most comments were not related to code or its application in the decision at hand. It was stated multiple times that “the group” was trying to take away the property rights of the developer. It was also brought up the “the group” was responsible for the loss of amenities the developer would have provided with the first application and that “the group” had bullied other citizens into signing the referendum. Some even said that this application had been reviewed long enough and the council just needed to “trust the experts and approve it”.
The public hearing was not the place for our group to take time and respond to accusations. The purpose was solely to discuss issues applicable to the approval of the application. But we do have answers to those questions that were raised concerning our group’s actions:
◊Accusation: CFRG is trying to take away the private property rights of the developer
◊ Response: The developer is entitled to every property right allowed to them in the zone where their property is located. We do not question their right to the 125 homes or the golf course, which is a permitted use. We do question the addition of 303 nightly rentals and many other “support facilities” in this application. A detailed and complete legal analysis is vital to making a correct and fair approval. That is why CFRG has submitted and paid for an advisory opinion from the State’s Ombudsman.
◊ Accusation: CFRG is responsible for the loss of the amenities negotiated under the first Wohali application.
◊Response: The developer is the one who chose to pull the first application before allowing the citizens to vote. They also made the decision not to include the “public amenities” in the second application. CFRG wanted the public to vote and had no say in the pulling of the first application.
◊Accusation: Members of the CFRG group bullied the public into signing the referendum.
◊ Response: The members of CFRG were very aware that the large majority of the public that attended the annexation meeting and later the public hearings for the rezone and approval of Wohali’s first application were very opposed to having a project of that size in Coalville. Most members of the City Council ignored the public when their voices should have been heard in those legislative decisions. CFRG decided to organize a referendum so that every Coalville Citizen could vote and have their say. We had no reason to bully anyone into signing, and most people came to us because they were eager to let their representatives know they were tired of being ignored.