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Potential Murray development catches criticism from surrounding community

Posted at 8:31 PM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 22:31:57-05

MURRAY, Utah — It has been the talk of the town all over social media: a parcel of land where an abandoned satellite communications company sits on 935 Bullion Street in Murray.

The property is being developed by the Hamlet Development company, which wants to rezone the property for medium-density housing to allow about 90 new units in the space.

A meeting was scheduled for last Thursday, but after major backlash from the community, they scrapped the idea and instead held a community meeting Tuesday over Zoom.

Residents in the area even put up signs in their yards to remind people about the meeting and the Murray Citizens Facebook page is alive with comments and concerns over the development.

“We figured there would be construction there at some point,” John Park, the founder of the Murray Citizens page told FOX 13.

He added that he thought the development would be single-family houses to match with the rest of the community.

“It feels like the big city of Salt Lake and the high-rise developments are pushing into South Salt Lake, and we’re right on the other side of that. Where it's going to be next?” Park said.

The issues surrounding residents boil down to four things:

First, some say the 90 new units wouldn’t fit with the surrounding areas of single-family homes only.

“Coming in and changing the dynamic of the neighborhood to not match what currently exists — there is what’s giving people a lot of issues," Murray resident Preston Andrew said.

Second, the traffic flow — especially with schools on either side — is also an issue for those living in the area.

“You’re en route on Bullion to an elementary school, and that development would be right against a primary area of travel for those kids,” Andrew said.

“Plop 90 units and you assume there’s going to be 1-2 people, adults and cars per unit, so suddenly we're at 150 more cars," Park added. "And roads are already congested.”

Third, neighbors say that crime is up in the neighborhood, enough where they have started their own neighborhood watch.

“A lot of petty theft happening, so how does that impact a new development, especially a higher density one?” Andrew said.

Finally, there is a rumor the site could have been a dumping ground for the nearby former Murray Smelter, which was on the ground where Intermountain Medical Center now sits.

The site was declared an environmental “Superfund Site” and demanded extensive clean-up before the hospital was built on that ground.

“If it's true this is where they were dumping those tailings... this has got to be a big deal," Park said. "If that’s down in the soil, we don’t need that kicked up into the air.”

He added that if the contaminates are there, they would impact the two schools nearby with children being outdoors.

But there are some like Lindsay Ross who are absolutely for this site being developed into a higher density, more affordable housing.

“A good development is something that is actually affordable for people with regular incomes,” She told FOX 13, adding that she is uncertain if Hamlet Developments will meet that criteria.

Ross also did a government records request for the number of traffic accidents in the area in the last five years.

She found that there were 43 car vs. car accidents and six car vs. pedestrian, with four of those taking place during school hours.

Her concern with the community was people's disappointment with change, saying it seems to be a culture of “not in my backyard attitudes and entitlement.”

“It's frustrating to see that, and that people are not more open and willing to have different types of developments," she said.

There was one thing that every neighbor FOX 13 spoke with had in common, however: Appreciation toward Hamlet Development for holding a community meeting where they can offer their input.

“I do think it's nice that the developer chose to do that,” Ross said

“It's appreciated for sure," Park added. "I think the cynic in me thinks they are kind of there to rub our tummies and then go back to whatever they were going to do anyways, but my hope is that they are being genuine.”

Ultimately for others like Andrew, it is all about keeping the flow of the community intact.

"We’re working together to make sure that it stays the way that we feel like best for our families," he said.