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City contemplates use of 1,700 acres after Facebook declines offer

Oct 31, 2016 10:28AM ● Published by Tori LaRue

The West Jordan City Council has disallowed applications to amend the zoning and land use maps for nearly 1,700 open acres for up to six months. (Kimberly Roach/City Journals)

Gallery: City contemplates use of 1,700 acres after Facebook declines offer [1 Image] Click any image to expand.

By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com



West Jordan, Utah - The West Jordan City Council voted to temporarily disallow applications to amend the zoning and land use maps for nearly 1,700 open acres on the southwest side of the city.

The ruling came after Facebook accepted a deal with New Mexico, failing to bring a data center to 230 acres of the 1,700-acre West Jordan property, known as the Pioneer Technology District.

“In that Facebook has now been terminated from our horizon, we would like to make sure that there are no other submittals for use of that property until we can do a proper master plan, and we would like to do that for the full 1,700 acres,” City Manager Mark Palesh said to the council at the Oct. 12 meeting. 

The temporary land-use ordinance prohibiting applications for amending the zoning and land use maps does not affect the city’s ability to make their own changes to the maps or affect developers from applying for building permits or subdivision plans that meet the current zoning. The change simply keeps applicants from trying to change the zoning and land use during a time when city staff is trying to create an all-inclusive vision for the 1,700 acres. 

“It’s very limited in scope but very, very important to make sure you stay focused on your future land-use process for this area,” Deputy City Attorney Duncan Murray said, addressing the council.

The temporary hiatus to applications for changes for the Pioneer Technology District may last up to six months and will ensure that zoning and map changes to multi-family and high-density residential areas will be compatible with the city’s infrastructure and services. 

The district, with its center at New Bingham Highway and Bacchus Highway, accounts for one-10th of the city’s total land—not something they want to mess up on, according to Duncan. 

Councilman Zach Jacob said he was in favor of the temporary land-use ordinance as long as the city would collaborate with other stakeholders to create a vision for its southwestern-most portion of land. 

County leaders, including County Mayor Ben McAdams, had opposed the Facebook development, saying that nearly $240 million in tax-incentives was too much, but West Jordan leaders, including Mayor Kim Rolfe, continued to argue that the center would have strengthened the local economy and brought in otherwise non-existent property tax revenue. 

“Yes, this is our city, but this is also our county, and it is also our state and our school board,” McAdams said. “We saw what happens when we don’t work together.” 

Jacob suggested asking the Western Growth Commission to weigh in on the use of the Pioneer Technology District. The group was originally formed by the West Jordan Chamber of Commerce and includes representatives from West Jordan, Taylorsville, Riverton, Herriman, South Jordan and Bluffdale who discuss the plans for the development of the west side of Salt Lake County. 

The commission is similar to McAdam’s newly formed Mountain View Economic Development Commission, which the county mayor initiated to bring about a development that’s cohesive with surrounding cities across the Mountain View Corridor. Jacob suggested some kind of merge between the two groups, stating they have a similar purpose that could help in the planning of West Jordan’s largest section of open land. 

Councilman Chris McConnehey said the city staff will build a more detailed plan for the 1,700 acres from the already developed master-plan. 

“It is not that we are starting with a blank slate,” he said. “We have a lot that’s been done in the past.” 

The vote passed unanimously with six council members in favor. Councilman Chad Nichols was excused from the meeting. 

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