Lehi residents upset over LDS Church’s proposed plans to develop on driving range

Posted at 9:42 PM, Jul 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-10 23:42:56-04

LEHI, Utah -- For years, the driving range has been a part of the Thanksgiving Point Golf Course in Lehi, and on its southern edge sits the Thanksgiving Point Village neighborhood.

"We bought into what is called a resort community, and we didn't anticipate having any kind of a monstrosity of buildings there with lots of asphalt," said Bill Conley, a resident in Thanksgiving Point Village.

He's working to rally support to oppose a plan to tear out the existing driving range and put in two office buildings. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bought the land and presented a conceptual plan at the Lehi Planning Commission meeting Thursday night.

"Two, four-story structures here on this property, one for the purpose of lease, one for the purpose of family search," said Steven Roll, a member of the Lehi Planning Commission, regarding the plans that were submitted.

He said it is a permitted use based on the way the land is zoned.

"The planning commission really is required to operate within narrow parameters, and we'll need to approve it unless there is some major problem," Roll said.

Neighbors like Conley do see a major problem on their horizon.

"Biggest concern would be traffic," Conley said. "Having an additional thousands of cars in this area."

The city understands it is no small development and said building the new development will add cars to existing roads. More than 750 parking spaces are included in the conceptual plans.

"I would anticipate that there could be some spot improvements, potentially the bridge, we'd probably want to look at that, that's maybe a narrow spot," said Kim Struthers, the Lehi Community Development Director.

He said the city will likely require a traffic study to identify problem spots. But, because the land is zoned to allow this kind of development, the city is not required to hear any public testimony on the project.

On Thursday night, the architect agreed with the planning commission to table the conceptual plan for 30 days to allow time to meet with neighbors and discuss the plans. It may be the only chance neighbors get to have their voice heard before the project goes from plans to construction.

Officials with the LDS Church told FOX 13 News it was unable to comment on development plans until next week.