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Riverton Residents Endeavor to Protect Preservation Area

Dec 07, 2015 11:00AM ● By Bryan Scott

By Briana Kelley

South Valley - Residents are speaking out against a proposed re-zone of Riverton preservation area. The property, located at 11877 South Reeves Lane near the Jordan River, is currently zoned A-5, or agricultural 5-acre lots. The applicant is requesting a rezone to R-3, or residential third-acre lots. The issue is scheduled to be presented to the planning commission on December 10.

“The land in question has been zoned A-5 for over 20 years. It is also listed as a preservation area on Riverton City’s Master Plan. The community would like it to remain zoned as it is,” Dave Carter stated. Carter, a resident in the area in question, acted as spokesman for other property owners in the area. “Historically, Riverton City has done a good job as stewards of the Jordan River and the surrounding preservation and wetland areas. We believe they will continue to take that stewardship very seriously.”

Current A-5 zoning allows for the potential of building one house per five acres and has long been established. There have been prior rezone requests that have been denied on the property in question. However building has not been and would not be prohibited by the city, according to Angela Trammell, Riverton City’s public information officer.

Residents are primarily concerned that rezoning the area will lead to loss of preservation area and wetlands as established in Riverton City’s General Plan. Development would affect wildlife and avian species in the area. “If this is developed, Riverton will no longer have this green space, the protected area, that facilitates the wildlife--the fox, the geese, even eagles come down into here. We’ve had deer. All along this walking path people enjoy that wildlife. Once this is developed, it’s gone. And it’s gone forever. Riverton loses that valuable green space,” Carter said.

Many residents are also concerned about the proximity of the proposed development to the Jordan River and the floodplain. “Several homes in our neighborhood have experienced extensive structural damage due to the unstable soil conditions in this area and our proximity to the Jordan River. In some instances the repairs have cost homeowners tens of thousands of dollars. Approximately 22 years ago Riverton City designated how far away our subdivision should sit in relation to the Jordan River. Building homes closer to this designation will inevitably expose prospective homeowners to the same extensive home damage and high cost of repair,” Carter and other homeowners said.

The city takes these concerns into account when reviewing applications. “The technical aspects of floodplain and groundwater issues are designated by FEMA and Salt Lake County Flood Control. As any proposed building or land development is submitted for approval by an applicant to the Planning Commission and City Council, these very important issues, along with their required accommodations, are taken into consideration,” Trammell said.

The applicant, Ivory Homes, was unable to answer questions in time for publication. Ivory Homes held a neighborhood meeting on November 18 to discuss their proposal and answer questions concerning the project. Their proposal will be reviewed December 10. Following the review of the planning commission, Riverton’s City Council will review it at a date to be determined. 

Trent Staggs is the council member over the area in discussion and sits on the governing board of the Jordan River Commission. He is aware of the effects of possible development. “I am very concerned about development in this area because of the long-standing stance that the city has had in their general plan for it as preservation area. People make decisions on where to buy their home based on zoning. Given that it is a preservation area and there has proven to be a lot of hazards and issues, that is a concern,” Staggs said. 

Trammell encouraged residents to continue to voice their opinion on this issue. “Resident feedback is also always welcome during open public hearings, and independently by elected officials as they work to make the best decisions possible for the city and its residents,” Trammell said.