About 40 Sandy residents were jubilant this week after the City Council denied a rezoning request for a proposed shopping center at 114th South and 10th East, even though their victory may not prove to be final.
The residents had argued that the lives of their children were at stake, because seven schools and churches are within a quarter mile of the proposed site and the center would increase traffic substantially.The council voted 4-3 Tuesday night to deny the rezoning, after considering and then deciding not to order a traffic study.
Bailey Butters, marketing director for the developer, Busch Corp., said the company will probably be back in soon with a new proposal for a scaled-down version of the project.
Busch had proposed to rezone 18.5 acres of the 35.5 at the site from residential to commercial and to change 17 from residential lots of at least 10,000 square feet to residential lots of at least 8,000 square feet.
The city's planning staff had recommended approval of a smaller, 13-acre version of the project. And the Planning Commission, despite its own 4-3 vote against the project, remained open to the possibility of a smaller proposal, said the commission's vice chairman, Holly Barney. She noted that a previous Busch development, Fiesta Village, had considerable neighborhood opposition before it was built but a lot of support afterward.
Butters agreed with residents that the increased traffic resulting from the proposed center would present a safety problem. But he said area traffic was bound to increase with or without the center, and at least with it, Busch would take steps to improve safety, including paying half the cost of a traffic light at the intersection of 10th East and 114th South, painting crosswalks and bike paths and installing proper signs.
Besides increased traffic, Dale Frandsen, spokesman for the residents, named shoplifting, drug dealing and truancy among schoolchildren as potential dangers from having a shopping center so near several schools.
Butters replied that those problems can't be blamed on a shopping center; proper values to resist such things are taught at home.
Residents also said the proposed development would draw on the same market area as a planned development at 123rd South between 10th and 13th East in Draper, which is to be several times as large. They said that no matter which of the two projects is built first, when the Draper project gets going it will draw enough business away to kill the Busch center.
The residents said their area has plenty of available shopping within a two-mile radius. Since future growth will be toward the south, it would make more sense for new commercial development to go to the outskirts of Sandy's residential south end - or even into Draper, they said.
"There's nothing immoral about people crossing an imaginary line and shopping in Draper," said Jeffrey Stevens.
Butters said Busch chose the proposed site because of its growth potential both in population and average income. He said that, while the site has some problems, Sandy has a dearth of available development sites.