Cottonwood Heights development opposed by some residents

Posted at 9:54 PM, Apr 08, 2014

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS -- Off Wasatch Boulevard in Cottonwood Heights, a newly built road leads to seemingly nowhere.

“We have no view of what this whole development is going to look like right now,” said Cottonwood Heights resident Will McCarvill.

It takes motorists past an 11-acre lot of dirt and trees that is one day supposed to be home to Canyon Centre, a multi-million dollar development, one that McCarvill has been fighting for years.

“The commission and the planning staff have acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in approving a development that does not have a full master plan associated with it,” McCarvill said.

As the president of the Cottonwood Heights citizens’ group, CH Voters, McCarvill filed an appeal last week with the city’s planning commission, arguing why the project shouldn’t move forward.

"We kind of feel like we are getting the rug pulled out from underneath us,” McCarvill said.

The group’s main concern is that the plan only details what it intends to do with about 5.8 of the 11-acre lot, not the rest.

Because the area is a mixed-use zone, meaning it allows for both commercial and residential, they want to see a plan that outlines what type of housing will actually be constructed at the site.

“For us, that’s not a planning process. That’s just a little sticky note on the plot map saying, we’ll think about it,” said Mark Machlis, vice president of CH Voters.

But the city contends they’ve done a lot more than just think about it.

“The only real saber rattling I’m hearing is from the CH Voters group, which doesn’t surprise anyone because they do this with every development project in the city,” said Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore Jr.

For the last few years, city officials and developers have been building and rebuilding a model of phase 1 of their project, which includes a hotel, restaurant, parking garage and office space.

“It’s a very complex project and it’s one that we’re trying to do right,” Cullimore said.

Phase 2 of the project only comes after the first part is completed.

“We have a master plan,” Cullimore said. “We have a master plan that has shown what might go there. And that includes some residential.”

For now, they’re just focusing on breaking ground on phase 1, a project that, so far, has only built one road, an entryway to whatever comes next.

The appeal will likely go before the city’s Board of Adjustment before the end of the month. If they rule against CH Voters, the developers plan to move forward.