After 13 years of keeping developers at bay, Highland may be ready to open the door to limited commercial development.
Woodbury Corp. wants to build a small shopping center on a three-acre parcel at the junction of the Alpine Highway and U-92 - commonly referred to as the "four corners" area. The center would be located on the southwest corner of the intersection.The primary tenant would be a grocery store owned and operated by Gerald Day, owner of Day's Alpine Market in Alpine. If Highland approves the project, Day will close his store in Alpine, which he has operated for 12 years, when the new store opens. Day also owns grocery stores in Provo, Payson, Heber, Vernal and Diamondville, Wyoming.
"Someday, somebody is going to have a store there (at the four corners location)," Day said. "We think it should be us, because we think we try to run our stores as a community store. We like to get involved in the community . . . run like old-fashioned stores used to run.
"We want to build a store that will have the necessary amenities that will satisfy the needs of the people that live there," Day said.
The store would probably have a bakery, deli and expansive meat and produce sections.
The center would also have space for five or six "service type" stores - a hair salon, dentist office, etc, according to Mel Clement, vice president of marketing and development for Woodbury.
Clement said the population in Highland, Alpine and the nearby community of Cedar Hills - which totals about 10,000 people - is sufficient to make the project economically feasible. He projects the city would receive about $60,000 in sales and real estate tax revenue from the center annually.
Woodbury, which already owns the property, would like to begin construction on the project this summer, with the grocery store scheduled to open in the fall.
Highland Mayor James Hewlett was out of town and not available for comment. Alpine Mayor Elaine Barnes said she'd prefer having an expanded grocery store in her city but that Highland "is the next best thing."
Highland does not have a commercial zone. When the area incorporated as a city in 1977, it took in two existing commercial developments - Kountry Korner, a convenience store at 5260 W. 1100 North, and the Alpine Country Club.
"We wanted, when we set the city up, to have a place that would have a rural atmosphere and large lots which would allow animal rights," said Highland Planning Commission Chairman Bill Blomquist.
Commercial development was not a priority. In fact, curbing such development has been a political issue.
"Elections have always gone to those who have maintained the atmosphere we have now," Blomquist said.
However, the Planning Commission is in the process of reviewing its zoning master plan. The review will take a year.
"We are going to review the prospects of commercial (development) along with other parts of the master plan," Blomquist said. "Right now it is too early to say what will come out of that review."
But, the Planning Commission may consider and act on Woodbury's development request sooner. The Planning Commission will discuss the proposal at its meeting next Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the new Highland City Hall.
"It depends on the mood of the citizens on the master plan review," Blomquist said. "We don't want to be rushed into it without really studying the issues. We want to make sure that what is done is best for (all) citizens of Highland."
So far, the comments Blomquist has heard from residents have been in favor of allowing the grocery store development. Still, "there are a lot of things to consider, not just the need for a market," he said.