COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah -- A controversial land development that has brought hundreds of angry citizens to public meetings could draw more outrage this week as the Salt Lake County Council considers rezoning the property.
Some Cottonwood Heights residents are worried the pristine entrance to Big Cottonwood Canyon could eventually become home to a high-rise condominium complex known as the Tavaci development.
Resident Rita Smith said she opposes rezoning the land.
"I think it will be a huge eyesore for the Salt Lake County canyon,” she said.
Kelvyn Cullimore Junior, mayor of Cottonwood Heights City, said the land in question was initially zoned for residential development.
"It was approved as a subdivision for single family homes—approximately 45 to 49 single family homes,” he said.
But after the economic recession in 2009, developer Terry Diehl changed his mind. Diehl requested the land be rezoned to allow him to build high-rise condos, retail spaces and restaurants.
When the city and the developer could not reach an agreement, the developers petitioned to have the land disconnected from the city. The petition was approved, and the land is now part of unincorporated Salt Lake County.
"They made the decision to disconnect from Cottonwood Heights, that was over a year ago,” Cullimore said.
Bruce Baird is requesting Salt Lake County approve the rezoning application on behalf of Cottonwood Estates Development LLC.
Members of the County Planning Commission toured the site Friday. Rolen Yoshinaga, Salt Lake County Planning and Development Division director, said it may come down to whether or not the site is considered part of the canyon.
"There have been a lot of studies that the county has engaged in about where commercial development is appropriate, certainly not in the canyons,” Yoshinaga said. “I think one of the questions will be: Is this site in the canyon or not?”
The public will have another chance to make their opinion heard. A hearing will be held Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. in room #N1100 in the Salt Lake County Government Center, located at 2001 South State St.
Resident Annie Trujillo said she will likely attend the hearing.
"A lot of my friends are pretty passionate about it, so I'll probably be there with them,” she said.