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Daybreak Residents Dispute with Kennecott Land about Harvest Sun Parcel

Mar 10, 2016 09:06AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com

South Jordan - Kennecott Land moves forward with plans to build 15 townhome units on a parcel directly south of the Daybreak Community Center, despite upheaval from nearby residents. 

Eric Thatcher said he’s against the development because he believes Kennecott should deliver the community amenities that they market.  Maps dating from 2004 to 2015 show the Harvest Sun Parcel, about an acre, as a potential site of green space or a pool. 

Thatcher, who purchased his home in 2005, said he bought a house near that parcel partially because Kennecott Land and Holmes Homes representatives gave him maps showing community amenities. He said Kennecott representatives used the community amenities as a selling point when trying to persuade his family and hundreds of other home buyers to move to Daybreak. 

“They’re not following through with what they sold, and that’s really deceptive marketing,” he said. “They have every legal right to develop how they want, but does that make it right to go back on what they promised for 10 years?” 

Kennecott Land sent a letter to residents detailing the history of the parcel, apologizing for any misconceptions about the parcel that may have come from the home-finding maps. 

“When there’s an open piece of ground next to you, there’s always a possibility that the plans for it may change and evolve over time,” Cameron Jackson, Kennecott Land marketing manager, said. 

While the parcel is zoned as retail, multi-use or otherwise, Jackson said Kennecott Land’s original intention was to use the parcel for community amenities. He said they built showers and a locker room into the community center so it’d be equipped for a neighboring pool. 

“When the community got to maturity and there was financial health in the HOA, we figured we’d sell or donate that parcel to the community, so they could put an amenity there,” Jackson said. 

Jackson said this plan was challenged during the recession from 2008 to 2010. At that time the community was more developed, but they couldn’t afford to buy the parcel, Jackson said.

He said Kennecott discussed several new ideas for the parcel, including a daycare and multifamily housing. 

In January, the Daybreak Home Owner’s Association made the decision to purchase one-third of the parcel for a community pool. The association is comprised of three voting members: Jackson and two other Kennecott representatives, and two non-voting representatives, who are Daybreak homeowners. 

Jackson said Kennecott proposed 16 units of four-story townhomes for the remaining two-thirds of an acre, which they presented to residents in a community meeting because it’d give them a reasonable financial return.

Jill Spackman, resident, said she is displeased with this decision. 

“That pool will be shaded after noon because of the way it will fit in relationship to townhomes. That doesn’t make sense to me,” she said. “We need more parking. We need a community space.”

Spackman said she thinks the townhome situation is similar to what happened with Daybreak’s Brookside Pool. Residents were shown renderings of a pool that included a lap pool, a kiddie pool and a hot tub, but when the amenity was actually built, the pool was reconfigured without a lap pool or hot tub, she said. 

Thatcher said only eight homes, those within 300 feet of the parcel, were invited to attend the meeting regarding the townhome project. While this is the legal requirement, Thatcher said he felt like Kennecott Land was intentionally trying to keep the development of the parcel from spreading throughout the community.

Jackson said many residents didn’t know about the townhomes because Kennecott Land had just began discussing constructing townhomes on the parcel in January. He said they weren’t trying to hide their plans, but that they were newly emerging.

Thatcher and other residents organized a community protest on Jan. 24, where they handed out “Buyer Beware” flyers to potential buyers, which said Kennecott Land “has not always delivered the community amenities shown in the sales and marketing literature, brochures and community maps.”

The residents also started an online petition, which has been signed by more than 400 people, and shared their concerns at the January city council meeting. 

After residents voiced their concerns to the city council, the council invited Kennecott Land to meet with residents and speak about their concerns.

“I believe the real core of this problem is not the building of townhomes or a swimming pool, but trust,” Councilwoman Tamara Zander said. “Moving forward Kennecott Land has an opportunity to demonstrate their desire to improve relationships with residents in the Daybreak community.”

Kennecott had at least five meetings to discuss residents’ concerns, none of which were required by law. 

“We want to be aligned with the residents. We want understanding and trust, because that’s a large part of our success,” Jackson said. 

Spackman said she and other residents were concerned about the townhomes being so close to the school. She said the increase of traffic could be a danger to the children who are walking or catching the bus home. 

The city council asked Kennecott to review appropriate parking measures and pedestrian crossing safety. Jackson said the safety of these children is a legitimate concern, so they looked more into these areas and changed their original plan from 16 units of four-story townhomes to 15 units of three-story townhomes. 

Although this doesn’t appease many residents, Jackson said he is confident that it will be a safe area for all the Daybreak residents. He said he believes the area would be less safe if they used it for a commercial purpose, because commercial use generates more car trips per day on average. 

Spackman said she’s still skeptical. She’s seen other areas where new townhomes have caused a “flood of parking on the street on both sides,” which made it so only one car would fit down the road at a time, she said. 

Kennecott Land has agreed to put in garages for the townhomes to reduce congestion, according to townhome plans. 

Kennecott’s preliminary plat was approved at the planning commission meeting on Feb. 9. Kennecott’s plan is to slow down the planning before the final plat to hear the resident’s ideas of what could be a reasonable, financial and compatible alternative with the neighborhood, Jackson said. 

Spackman said the residents would like to see the amenities the way they were outlined in maps, but that they have come up with some items that she’d consider a compromise. 

She said she’d like to see a clock tower that would house three or four levels of loft-type townhomes. It’d take up less space and look more like the style of homes surrounding it, Spackman said. 

Another alternative would be to construct community-type offices where residents could rent out office space for a day or few hours, Spackman said.  It’d bring in revenue for Kennecott Land, but it’d still be community space.

“I would like them to work with us on it in a way that could really be a win-win for both as far as making that space that it was marketed to be,” Spackman said.  “We’re just asking them to come together with us on this and do something cool.”

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