With a break in City Council meetings it's been "fun" to go back an listen to some of the latest meetings again.
In June 11th's meeting (City Council) there was a significant discussion as to a density swap in Traverse Mountain. Overall the discussion was great with all parties having great questions and working together to come up with a good solution to rectify some mistakes of the past.
Mayor Mark Johnson made an interesting point about setting precedents. A lot of people like to claim that allowing one person to do something means we have to allow for someone else to do the same thing.
Mayor Johnson made a salient point, if we take an action and have good reasons for it, why would we not given the same facts make the same decision again and I completely agree with the Mayor here. The exceptions are not always the problem, it's why we make exceptions.
In the case of Sage Canyon the developer only had the right for balanced grading meaning make it flat as you can but you can't export it. This was stated clearly in April of 2013 (Planning Commission) by the city and the developer.
There is no doubt the developer had no existing right to export. So an exception has been made for them, so why? In the discussions of January 2018 (City Council) where the exception was approved very little was stated about the benefits the neighborhood would gain from this exception. At best the thought that mining and conveyors was better than trucking it out was seen as a benefit because the dirt would be moved either way. Remember though they never had a right to move the dirt off the property so all things being equal they are only trying to mitigate the additional harm exporting is going to cause. One and a half years of grading versus a three to six year mine is a massive difference.
The developer was required to have a park, they dangled a school site. The school site was not enticing enough so they dangled church site. The church site not good enough they dangle $600,000. So yes the developer is trying to give the residents something but if they don't need what they are offering there is an impasse and the developer can simply build what he has rights to build and Lehi can stay out of it.
Setting a precedent that it is OK for Lehi to to approve exceptions without clear benefit to the neighborhood or city as a whole is indeed setting a terrible precedent and lucky for us it's not a legal precedent. We now have the opportunity to elect leaders that will use their position to make decisions for the good of all landowners not just developers.
Kudos to Chris Condie and Johnny Revill for standing on the right side of this issue in addition to the entire Planning Commission for standing up to this in the initial presentation.
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