Comments about ‘Utah among states with greatest urban sprawl’

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Published: Monday, April 21 2014 7:35 p.m. MDT

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omahahusker
Modesto, CA

Is this a case of Zion expanding or more people moving to Zion. The article talked about urban sprawl, but what is the the root cause? Is it the weather? Life in the Rookies is cold and barren. Is it the people? My trips through Utah have shown to me some of the most polite people anywhere(except on the freeways) Is it the education system, price of real estate, safe area to raise a family. Maybe there are some answers out there!

Brahmabull
sandy, ut

as a lifelong Utahn this is not a list I am proud that we are on. There should be a limit to the amount of cropland that we can tear up to create urban housing. The state has gone from a nice place with many open areas to a busy, ugly, urban setting. It is disturbing to me because it can never be undone. Once the farm land is gone and the houses are up, that is it. You never see them tearing down housing to create farmland. Sad

CP
Tooele, UT

I have to agree with Brahmabull. I am a Utah native and I am sad to see this happening. My family and I moved to West Valley City and when we lived there it had beautiful fields and we could see beautiful sunsets, sadly it all went away as just about every inch of open field got plowed up and homes, condos, businesses took over. Homes were built so close together that I am surprised a person could fit in between the houses. Well, we packed up and left because it became nothing but a sea of buildings and more smog.

RG
Buena Vista, VA

I'm one of those conservative capitalist types, and still I greatly mourn the loss of open space on the Wasatch Front. Hugh Nibley would have agreed. It is as if the developers see no value in land unless they can build houses and make money. However, as the population grows, I guess people need places to live. I suggest that just because you are from Utah does not mean you have to live there your whole life. I didn't. I'm originally from Cache Valley and each time I go back I hope it hasn't turned into the Salt Lake Valley. It has grown to be sure, but still has lots of beautiful farms left. Next: let's do a study on all those ugly billboards along I-15. I've lived in 6 states, and this is the worse area for ugly billboards. Hugh Nibley would have also agreed.

elgreco
grand junction, CO

Just wait until Gov Herbert gets title to all that public land within Utah's borders. Then you will really see some major sprawling. No sense in letting all that beautiful country lie fallow doing no good whatsoever but providing healthy habitats, vital ecosystems, and peace of mind to the harried human.

Jamescmeyer
Midwest City, USA, OK

I wish I had the knowledge and skillset to make use of farmland; I could settle down someplace and make such use of the land without worrying about stuff like this.

Dave T in Ogden
Ogden, UT

We must get ready for when our seniors (over age 65) will double by 2030. We also will have a surge of the aging baby boomer that will not be able to drive.
They ought to build room for when grandma can no longer stay safely in her home any longer. Research shows one out of three seniors will fall every year and 20-30 percent of those who fall will require hospital care.
New homes should be built to include cushioned (yet stable to walk on) sub-floors, rubber countertops to cushion any fall. Other things they would consider are to include building all ramps, (no stairs), walk-in baths, cabinets that can lower (for those in wheelchairs), flooring (rubber or cork) that is not slippery when wet (like the kitchen and the Bathrooms). This way, 3 generations can live together safely, learn from each other and improve the lives of all.
As for getting seniors to places like the grocery store or to the doctor's office, perhaps driverless, electric/solar powered vans will be the way. Though you must build complete streets with a pathway just made for these vans. These special vans (solar powered) could be used for earthquakes.

high school fan
Huntington, UT

A lot of developed land in Utah and Nevada was not crop land but plain desert land. Not a lot of crops besides alfalfa are grown in these two states. I will concede that utah county lost a bunch of orchards though.
Utah and Nevada growth is not for many big lots but for neighborhoods because of growth. Day break development took in lots of ground where not much existed.

NedGrimley
Brigham City, UT

The root causes are that as a society we have become so endeared to cheap and tasteless fast and packaged food that we have lost touch with real food. Food that can only come from a farm. People used to savor and enjoy a meal together. Now it's a bother, an inconvenience.

And, with government intervention, changes in technology, "advances in science", and genetically modified food, it is so costly to run a real farm and produce real food, that I wonder if we will ever recoup from the loss. It's far more profitable for the grandkids to sell grandpas farm for development than they will ever make growing food.

I'm afraid this whole idea of "save the land" so we can feed ourselves may be lost in the fast food line and the realtors office.

Denver Brad
Highlands Ranch, CO

"Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!" -Isaiah 5:8

Thinkin\' Man
Rexburg, ID

"Sprawl" is back yards. It's a good thing. Instead of vast tracts of public green space, each household has its own to do with as it pleases.

The alternative is apartment living, which is not conducive to how most Americans want to live, raise families, or whatever.

Sprawl is a good thing.

Prodicus
Provo, UT

Walking through older neighborhoods anywhere along the Wasatch Front, you see tasteful houses sized for living. The relatively high population density made for a sense of community, easy access to employment etc, and plentiful allowance for open space.

Visiting towns and neighborhoods built in the last twenty years, you see vast rows of great huge ugly identical houses, whose cookie-cutter architecture is designed not to be functional, livable, and beautiful, but rather to be ostentatious.

Many of them are, like Eagle Mountain, plopped down in the middle of the desert where people have long commutes to get to anywhere that has any merit other than cheap land.

Others are where no sane person who understands the geological hazards would build, like Suncrest or Cedar Hills. (These also cause problems with displaced wildlife and ruin everyone else's views and mountain recreation.)

Ultimately it boils down to developers' greed, buyers' arrogance, and general self-centeredness.

We subsidize this foolishness through vastly increased transportation and infrastructure spending, through disaster aid to houses built in geological hazards like the Cedar Hills mudslide, and by not having them pay the social cost of their pollution.

K.Call
Moab, UT

"Let's get real. Using 2002 data, the U.S. Bureau of Census classifies less than 5% of the U.S. as being developed, with less than 2.5% as urban. Even in the densely populated East, New York and Pennsylvania are only 10% developed and New Jersey, the most densely populated, has 30% of it's land developed. These statistics alone suggest that the "Smart Growth" proposal(s) to make 50% of America off-limits to human use has less to do with land preservation than with...control of resources."
Dr. Erik T. Karlstrom, Professor of Geography
California State University

Mr. Beck seems to be falling for fear-tactics. Let's focus on the more important issue of state control versus federal control of our own lands ~ and let local citizens decide the best use of our land.

Vermonter
Plymouth, MI

To Brahmabull:
You may want to consider moving to Detroit--not the suburbs, but the city, where they are tearing down houses to create farmland. The houses that are still habitable are extremely cheap, too. But, the flip side is the crime rate...

elarue
NEW YORK, NY

I know this may be a foreign concept to those that were born, raised, and have lived their entire lives in Utah, but those of us who have experienced life on the east coast know that it is possible to handle a growing population by building upwards with a focus on more apartment, condominium, and co-op buildings. Then handle the extra traffic that comes from the increased concentration per square mile by developing public transportation, subway systems, light rail that takes you where you want to go easily.

Of course, here in NYC, we're dealing with the opposite problem of people having not enough space, and it's resulting in fewer and fewer families living in the city and moving out to the suburbs. But if Utah takes this approach to concentrated urban development while still preserving open land, hopefully you can avoid these problems before they creep in. :-)

Prodicus
Provo, UT

Right now developers practically run the state legislature. We need to take it back, stop subsidizing sprawl and unwise development, and put measures in place that will help Utah develop healthy family and community friendly urban centers with a density realistic for the long term and allowing for open space.

We often hear outcries whenever urban planning is mentioned, with lobbying interests and the politically shortsighted decrying it as communism. Brigham Young, whose vision of urban and community planning can be appreciated in town centers from Chihuahua to Alberta, had a different view. Faithful Saints responded to his call and built cohesive, well-designed communities with population densities unusually high for the Old West. He thundered from pulpits, especially here in Utah Valley, against individualists who usurped public resources or fought community plans for their own gain.

From time to time I sit at the top of Ensign Peak and look out across these valleys. I wonder what Brother Brigham saw and what fiery sermons he would have had for us today. We need leaders with more of his vision and less developer money burning a hole in their pockets.

Nerd herder 12
Spanish Fork, UT

Utah is the 8th most urbanized state it the USA with 90.6% of our population in urban areas. The same as Rhode Island. This is another stray statistic meant to make us feel guilty by those who have not researched the underlying data. As a nation we are 80% urbanized. When you are growing a small number (9.4% un-urbanized) by a rate slightly higher than others, it does not mean our local governments are irresponsible or that we aare anywhere near the sprawl of states like Vermont that is only 31% urbanized.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Prodicus from Provo nailed it.

But this is also a problem throughout the United States. If we are not very careful as we convert farmland into tracts of endless houses, we will be in the same mess with our food that we have experienced with oil. Do we really want to be almost totally dependent upon other countries for our food as well?

Here is what the Agriculture Department says: "As the U.S. population has grown in both number and ethnic diversity, the volume and variety of food consumed and imported in the United States has increased correspondingly. In 2009, U.S. food consumption totaled 654 billion pounds, or more than 2,100 pounds per capita. Of this amount, imports accounted for 17 percent (110 billion pounds), or 358 pounds per capita."

And: "It is estimated that 15 percent of the U.S. food supply is imported, including 50 percent of fresh fruits, 20 percent of fresh vegetables and 80 percent of seafood."

Might we all wake up hungry some morning?

djacob10
Salt Lake, UT

People should go to the east coast if they think Utah is getting ugly and growing too fast etc etc. This area is one of the prettiest areas to live in the US. People complaining about growth need to move.

One of the comments saying "The state has gone from a nice place with many open areas to a busy, ugly, urban setting" is a joke.

I know some people have not actually been outside of Utah and seen what it is actually like in other cities. Too say this area is ugly is just flat out incorrect. Again go to the east coast or any other large metropolitan area and see if you can still say that.

Salt Lake county is growing but still much less busy then most large cities.

carman
Wasatch Front, UT

This article is highly misleading. There is more open space here than most anywhere. Try to camp outside a designated camp ground in the midwest or east coast, on the 500 sq ft that you rent. Yes, the urban areas of SLC, Logan and Provo/Orem/Spanish Fork are being developed. But there is more open space per capita here than most places.

The driver is growth: a growing population, low unemployment, low taxes, great outdoor recreation, low crime and a great standard of living. If you want to stop the growth, just hike taxes, regulate companies out of business, and tell people to stop moving, traveling and shopping here.

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