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Holbrook Farms residents oppose park plan, xeriscape requirements in council meeting

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During the Lehi City Council meeting on Tuesday February 8, several residents of the Holbrook Farms neighborhood, including Councilwoman Katie Koivisto (who lives in Holbrook Farms) spoke during open citizen comment to plead with the City Council to change the recently approved park plans in their neighborhood. 

The highly anticipated park is on 31 acres and will be a focal point for the area.

“We’re excited to bring this park forward. We’ve been working on it with staff for over a year now. It will be an iconic centerpiece for the neighborhood,” said Brad Mackey fromthe Ivory Homes development team. 

The park amenities include outer perimeter trails, pickleball courts, a pavilion, restrooms, a playground, a food truck court, corn hole courts, picnic tables, a sledding hill and 262 trees. 

Neighbors who attended the meeting were not opposed to the park but opposed the layout and some landscaping features in the plan. The largest gripe was the areas designed for native grasses. Lehi City code requires all new parks to include 25% xeriscape (low water-use landscaping) to battle the constant drought conditions the state has been facing. 

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“The plan is lacking lawn area for our children to use. The lawn areas in the proposed plan are located under the power line corridor. One of my favorite pastimes is flying trick kites. Unfortunately, if this park is installed as planned, I will have to fly my kites in the native grasses,” said resident Eric Sabin.

“Anybody in their reasonable mind wouldn’t call native grass beautiful. If you think it’s beautiful, wow. That’s sad. I can’t believe the city would require the developer to put in native grass, it’s nothing but weeds,” said resident Chris Brown. 

The contingent of neighbors, including Councilwoman Koivisto, are asking for Ivory to move the native grass areas to under the power lines and move the useable grass area to a different part of the park. 

“We don’t even need to put the weeds in (native grass). We can just put a pump track in and leave it as dirt and a dog park in the northern part and leave that as dirt with a fence around it. We don’t have to irrigate it. We have to irrigate the wild grass,” said Koivisto, offering an alternative suggestion. 

The Planning Commission fully approved the current plan for the park with a unanimous vote in late January. The Planning Commission is the land use authority on this park and final approval was granted to Ivory Homes in that meeting. 

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Despite the park’s prior approval, Mayor Mark Johnson asked staff to schedule a work session regarding the matter and to include the Parks Department and Ivory Homes so all stakeholders could better understand the situation and see what changes could be agreed upon.

All the Councilmembers except Koivisto said they were unaware of any resident concerns prior to the meeting and requested that residents reach out to all the Council with future issues, rather than just one member of the council. 

Councilwoman Paige Albrecht and Councilman Paul Hancocksaid they have tried multiple times to join the Holbrook Farms neighborhood Facebook page to stay up to date with current events and concerns in the neighborhood but have been denied access. 

The park is schedule to begin construction in March, with delivery of the playground structure. A timeline for completion of the park is still unknown but Mackey said, “We will try and get it done as fast as possible.”

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