Traffic concerns dominate meeting as residents share frustrations with developer
X Development delayed presenting their project in northwest to Lehi City Council to hear resident feedback at a neighborhood meeting on Thursday, Sept 10. Many residents expressed frustration and concern about potential traffic issues in the meeting, which had some heated exchanges.
X Development received a positive recommendation from the Lehi City Planning Commission on Aug. 13 for their General Plan Amendment to change the zoning on their development at 2300 West 2100 North. Representatives from X Development invited residents near their property to meet at the Megaplex at Thanksgiving Point to address concerns about the proposed development.
“We’ve read all the comments submitted to the Planning Commission, but we feel like it’s important to hear that feedback in person,” said Dave Morton, speaking for X Development. Morton presented slides on the movie screen showing the breakdown of the 21-acres in question into Low-Density Residential, Medium-Density Residential, Commercial and Open Space. “We’re willing to cap the residential units at 95 even though the density allows for 115 units. We’d also like to hear your ideas for the open space,” Morton continued.
After Morton’s brief presentation, he opened the floor for questions. Lehi City Councilwoman Katie Koivisto asked to use Morton’s microphone to comment. “Sometimes it can be intimidating to have a developer present something to you as if it’s a done deal, but this is just a concept. This is a good developer – they were supposed to be on the City Council agenda a few days ago, but they moved it [the presentation] to get input from you,” Koivisto told residents. “The Commercial portion of this plan is a huge red flag for me. It opens the floodgate for all kinds of businesses. That’s something you need to pay close attention to,” she continued.
“If you’re really willing to work with residents, keep the Low Density and get rid of the Commercial completely,” said Koivisto, addressing Morton.
“How did you get that entrance on 2100 North? 7-Eleven across the street fought hard for an entrance on 2100 North and they didn’t get it. I don’t see UDOT approving that in a million years,” added Koivisto.
Another resident said he was in contact with UDOT on Twitter and they had never heard of X Development’s project. “We’re working with Hales Engineering and we’re in the approval process right now,” said Morton. “I appreciate and respect what everyone is saying. We met with a resident over a year ago and he told us the biggest concern was traffic. That’s why we started the difficult and expensive process of getting another entrance to 2100 North and we’re widening 2300 West at our own expense,” Morton continued.
The audience of about 30 people, who said they represented more than 900 disgruntled neighbors, immediately questioned X Development widening 2300 West, and Morton explained that the extra lane would come out of their property.
Resident Ron Taggert suggested that another entrance to 2100 North would shift traffic into the neighborhoods and cause a mess. Several residents agreed with Taggert and raised concerns about traffic increases by having a Commercial development on the property. Other residents asked why X Development couldn’t keep the Neighborhood Commercial designation instead of changing it to Commercial. “I give that 7-Eleven across the street three years before it goes out of business and we’re left with an empty eye-sore of a building,” said resident David Woolsey. Morton explained that X Development didn’t want to limit the square footage of possible tenants in the Commercial portion. They are considering a convenience store or a pharmacy, both of which require more square footage.
“If you’re measuring traffic right now, you’re not getting a true picture of how bad it is. Coronavirus has decreased the traffic a lot,” said one neighbor to hearty agreement of others in the audience. X Development has been monitoring the area for more than a year and agreed that traffic has decreased in the last six months.
“I can see you’ve put a lot of work into this, but it sucks. The entrance to 2100 North is a terrible idea,” said a resident.
“If I was just going to bulldog this through, I wouldn’t have postponed City Council and held this meeting. We want to hear your comments. Our goal is no different than yours, we want to make money and provide for our families,” said Morton.
“We’ve had proposals rejected in the past, and the people have come back to us and said they wished they’d gone with us because now they’re dealing with what was behind door number two. We may not be able to do everything you want, but we’ll do our best to address these concerns,” he continued.
During the more than two-hour meeting, residents suggested moving the open space to the south side of the property and making the 2100 North entrance exclusive to the Commercial portion of the plot, ideas X Development said they would seriously consider.
X Development is scheduled to present its plan to the City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 22.