How Herriman City is preparing for Olympia HillsMay 03, 2021 12:37PM ● By Justin Adams
Relatively quiet roads, like this stretch of Herriman Boulevard, will someday become major thoroughfares once Olympia Hills is developed. (Justin Adams/City Journals)
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
With the Salt Lake County Council’s approval of the Olympia Hills development last year, 6,330 new residential units will be added to the southwest part of the valley over the next several years.
The Herriman City Council is preparing now for how that will impact the city.
One of the main concerns is how adding that many more homes will impact roads in Herriman. As commuters from the future development make their way to Mountain View Corridor or Bangerter Highway, they’ll be traveling along roads like 11800 South, Herriman Boulevard and Herriman Main Street. Not only will that likely require some new road construction and expansion in places but will also increase road maintenance costs for the city. The question for the Herriman City Council is, how should it pay for these infrastructure costs?
One option would be to annex the Olympia Hills development into the city. Currently, the land is part of unincorporated Salt Lake County, which is why the issue was before the county council, not Herriman City, that paved the path for its creation. But now that the development is being built one way or another, it may be advantageous for the city to incorporate it into its boundaries. Among other reasons, city leaders would be able to charge impact fees to the developer in order to fund these necessary infrastructure improvements.
During its April 14 meeting, City Attorney Chase Andrizzi briefed the city council about the annexation process. An ensuing discussion among the city council members made clear that while they are open to that direction, it’s certainly not a done deal.
“There’s a lot of things that have to be considered on both sides before it can even be realistically considered as a possibility,” said Councilman Steven Shields.
“There were a lot of strong feelings when [Olympia Hills] was presented to the county,” Councilman Clint Smith said. “I want to let the developer know that I’m at least appreciative that he’s open to having these conversations. Our goal as a council should be how we move the city forward in the best way possible. That may be with or without this development in the city.”
Another potential option for city officials is to transfer ownership of some of its roads to the state. Many of the larger roads in the valley that stretch across multiple municipalities are considered regional roads and are consequently owned and maintained by the Utah Department of Transportation. Currently, the only such road in Herriman is Mountain View Corridor. But the creation of such a large development to the west of the city could lead to a few of the city’s east–west corridors joining that designation.
To begin a dialogue with the state about that possibility, the council drafted a letter to UDOT, which was discussed during the same meeting.
“The best process is for these roads that are truly regional roads such as 12600 and 11800, all of these regional roads is to transfer that jurisdiction and ownership to the Department of Transportation so they can become state roads and have them maintain them,” Mayor David Watts said.
One concern Smith raised was whether ceding these roads to the state might have unintended consequences.
“Are we going to hurt ourselves in the long run by not having control when improvements happen?” he asked.
Similar to the question of annexation, the general consensus of the council was that they don’t have enough information right now to definitively advocate for one direction or another but are eager to open up a discussion with UDOT representatives.