MT. PLEASANT—The Mt. Pleasant City Council chamber overflowed with citizens on Tuesday, Dec. 14, many of whom were eager to talk about a new 76-lot development being planned in three phases for the northeast side of town.
The development, called Mountainville Farms, is located between 400 and 900 East and 335 and 500 North. The site plan has received preliminary plot plan approval from the planning commission and the city council.
That plan did not sit well with many in the crowd, some of whom claimed to have learned about the project “just a couple of days ago,” even though the proposal has been under consideration for several months and appeared on the city council agenda in early December.
Robert Brotherson told the council he didn’t think the subdivision plan should have been approved because, in his opinion, it would destroy the rural nature of the community and set a precedent for further developments of its type. He said the subdivision area is currently zoned residential/agriculture. “You can’t raise farm animals on a quarter acre lot,” he said.
Jean Lankst said she was concerned about how much water would be needed for that many homes. She contended that the Mt. Pleasant water system won’t support that many connections. She also said the development would have a negative impact on area schools.
Doug Wright said that 70 homes were too many. He said he didn’t believe the roads would handle the increase in traffic.
Mark Lysen said that he moved here for the rural lifestyle. He said that Utahns worry about the Californication of the state. He said he didn’t want to turn Mt. Pleasant into Salt Lake City or Salt Lake County.
Todd Horne was concerned about mixing culinary water with irrigation water. A council member said that the development would not be allowed to have a city irrigation water system.
In regard to the night’s gathering, Horne said the citizens should fill City Hall every week so they knew about things like the proposed development.
Tyler Winter expressed the opinion that Mt. Pleasant should be more like Spring City when it came to lot size. (Spring City’s lot size in the historical district is 1.1 acres.)
When asked about how the infrastructure for the subdivision would be handled, council members said that the developer would be responsible for all infrastructure costs. They said the developer would put in curb and gutters and pave all roads in the development. In addition, the developer would pay more than $1,000 in impact fees on every house.
Councilman Russell Kiesel viewed new, paid-for paved roads as a good thing. He said the city estimated it would cost more than $24 million to fix all the existing roads in Mt. Pleasant.
Asked if the city could stop the development, Mayor Olsen said that as long as the developer complied with all the city codes, it was too late to stop it.
When asked, “Where does it stop?” one of the councilmen replied, “You tell us.”
The two main concerns most of the people expressed seemed to revolve around water and losing the rural nature of the community.
“We’re going to have growth no matter what,” Councilman Stallings said.
He pointed out that one of the biggest problems the city has is lack of affordable housing. He said he understood that some didn’t like quarter-acre lots but said that some of his own employees don’t live in Mt. Pleasant because they can’t find a house to buy in town. He said this development will have roads and infrastructure and utility space all paid for by the developer. He also said, “We need growth to have jobs. Big companies won’t come here because there’s nobody to fill their jobs.”
Councilman Kiesel echoed his colleague when he said, “…They won’t come unless we have the population to support them.”
In regard to water development, the council revealed that the city is deep into negotiations with the state over approval of a water storage facility “as big as Fairview Lakes.”
Mt. Pleasant is negotiating with the state and other parties for a change to requirements that currently prevent the city from storing water from snowpack runoff.
Council members said plans have been drawn, engineering has been completed and the city has up to $25 million available to build the storage facility.
If achieved, a project that size could solve Mt. Pleasant’s vexing irrigation water shortage problems.