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Our Opinion: The Point of the Mountain paradox

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Opposition quickly arose at the five scenarios presented to the public by the Point of the Mountain Development Commission on November 30 at Loveland Aquarium in Draper. According to research presented by the Commission, our community’s primary concerns focus on air quality, traffic congestion, water limitation, and lack of open space and recreation. All scenarios presented by the Commission focused on heavy residential development.

Ironically, the very problems our community wants solved were ignored by phrases like, “get used to living differently,” “be comfortable with growth,” and “change is coming.” All five scenarios presented involved heavy residential development from single-family residences to high density, multi-level housing. The increase in population will inherently cause worse air quality, increased need for new roads, highways and freeways in the already congested Thanksgiving Point area, and very little additional recreation space for the hundreds of families moving into the new developments.

While acknowledging the dilemma of balancing increased population growth and its resulting problems with the promise of increased economic prosperity, presenters were not convincing.

Clear evidence that moving the prison to make room for explosive economic growth in this highly desirable area did not materialize in the presentation. Will tax payers foot the bill for moving the prison so developers proposing high-density housing could swoop in to crowd an environmentally fragile area which is already a traffic nightmare?

The five scenarios patently ignored core concerns of our community: traffic, density, water availability, and an already crowded educational infrastructure.

One audience member’s question mirrored ours, “Is this it?”

Billions of dollars of taxpayer money will be required to accommodate any of the five scenarios. Ironically, history shows that our legislators refuse to raise taxes.

The presentation emphasized the need for educational institutions to provide a highly educated workforce to supply new tech industries with the skilled employees. This goal seems unrealistic in a state that has the lowest per pupil funding in the nation which apparently has driven some companies from bringing their work force to Utah. Who will pay, particularly when our county is notorious for voting against tax raises for education?

From where we stand, the work of the Commission leaves developers giddy with the prospects of creating more brick and mortar and less open space than surrounding cities. Where are the plans with the infusion of parks, churches, schools, baseball diamonds, etc. to ameliorate the impact of these high-density options? Indeed, where are the large corporate entities promised by Governor Herbert if the prison was moved?

Many of the attendees at the presentation felt the scenarios were all developer-driven rather than community driven. Do the developers believe that lucrative housing solutions driven by millennials trump quality of living standards expected by our entire community?

With the collective experience and depth of knowledge held by members of Envision Utah and the Point of Mountain Commission, they can certainly do better than this.

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