What makes people move to Utah? What makes them move out? Survey says…

Posted at 4:25 PM, May 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-10 23:43:27-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A new report by Envision Utah finds traffic and air quality are the top concerns as development begins in the area around the Point of the Mountain.

The study, presented at a meeting of the Point of the Mountain Development Commission on Wednesday, was based on feedback online and in-person at meetings. It's being used to guide policy makers as they look at developing the area once the Utah State Prison moves.

"If you’re going to put a lot of things at Point of the Mountain, if it’s going to become an intensely developed area, how do you develop that with connected streets and multiple modes of transportation?" Envision Utah CEO Robert Grow said.

By 2050, Salt Lake County is projected to have 1.5 million more people living here. Another 1.3 million will live in Utah County.

Traffic and transportation was viewed as the top problem. It was mentioned four times over anything else. People said they wanted to see better street planning, more public transportation, including TRAX extensions in the south end of the Salt Lake Valley.

A lot of the planned growth will be along the I-15 corridor in Sandy, Draper and surrounding areas. The Mountain View Corridor will also drive growth, Grow said.

Based on public feedback, people move to Utah to be close to family and friends, a low cost of living, jobs, the "Utah culture" and the outdoors. Air quality was the top reason people moved away, followed by low wages, the "Utah culture," weather, traffic and a lack of diversity.

From the study:

"We just need to be as welcoming as we can as we grow the diversity of Utah," Grow told the commission.

The report will guide the commission as it implements policies and plans for the Point of the Mountain. Governor Gary Herbert has pushed the area as the "Silicon Slopes," attracting tech companies to Utah.

At Wednesday's meeting, comparisons were made to Cool Springs, Tennessee; Stanford, California; and Denver, Colorado.

From the study:

"We hope it turns into the tech campus, (like the) Denver Tech Center," Draper Mayor Troy Walker told FOX 13 of the prison site. "If I could pick the scenario, that’s what I want it to turn into."

But House Majority Leader Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, cautioned that development thinking needs to change if they want to retain people. Housing needs to be more affordable and there needs to be more than single-family homes, he said.

Rep. Lowry Snow, R-St. George, said lawmakers must deal with some of the critical issues identified in the study -- including transportation and air quality.

"Since this area is such a critical part of the future of the economic growth of our state, we’re going to have to address those issues," he told FOX 13.

Read the Envision Utah report here: