Olympia Hills development approved despite protests

Mar 4, 2020, 10:19 AM
Olympia Hills Protests...
Protesters rallying against the original Olympia Hills development project on June 14, 2018. (Photo: James Wooldridge, Deseret News)
(Photo: James Wooldridge, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The controversial Olympia Hills development is finally getting the green light. Despite community backlash, the Salt Lake County Council has voted 6-3 in favor of the measure.

Matching last week’s preliminary vote, council members Aimee Winder Newton, Steve DeBry and Richard Snelgrove are still against the proposal.

Olympia Hills protest

The campaign to densely develop the area is still drawing the ire of a number of concerned residents. Those against the measure protested outside the county government building wearing red T-shirts with “#OHNO” printed on the back.

The proposal would bring 6,300 housing units to roughly 930 acres in west Herriman. That would include contemporary housing neighborhood parks and commercial centers. Additionally, a 100 acre Utah State University agricultural center is being planned.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson says she won’t veto.

“After months and months of negotiations between the developer and county planning staff, I believe this proposal is as strong as it can be,” said Wilson in an official statement.

According to her, an alternative project wouldn’t solve any problems and would only result in a “negative impact on quality of life.”

During the public comment period of the County Council meeting, residents sounded off their concerns.

“My suggestion to the council is if you don’t want to stop the development completely – slow it down,” said Murray resident Lawrence Horman. “It would help out. It would make a difference.”

Others carried a more accusatory tone toward the council.

“What we heard from the six of you that voted in favor of this project were arguments kind of telling us that you don’t really see the big picture,” Lisa Brown of Herriman said to the council. “The impact of the number of homes is at the heart of the issue. Because it creates such a ripple effect in so many other areas.”

Anyone in favor?

Not everybody in attendance was against the proposal, though. Some residents say the move is necessary to keep up with growth.

“Every year we have 80,000 people coming into the state, that’s not counting the birthrate. We have a housing shortage,” real estate agent Nigel Swaby explained. “It’s a smart housing project with mixed use.”

Herriman City Councilwoman Sherrie Ohrn tells the Deseret News there’s a referendum kickoff scheduled at Mountain Ridge High School in Herriman Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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Olympia Hills development approved despite protests