Coalville Punts On Approving Second Wohali Proposal
The Coalville City Council, at its July 13 session, heard arguments from both sides of the debate surrounding the controversial Wohali project but didn’t come to a decision on its second iteration.
The first version, calling for a rezone of the property west of Interstate 80, included a golf course, 570 residences and 130 nightly rentals. After the city approved it in December, residents opposed to it gathered enough signatures to put it to a referendum.
The developers withdrew that application. The second version, submitted as a permitted use, contemplates 125 residences and 303 nightly rentals. The applicant says the rentals would be support for the golf and other recreational amenities.
The Coalville Planning Commission recommended that plan in June.
The City Council’s meeting on Monday drew about 20 people. One supporter was Ron Boyer.
He noted he was a Coalville city councilor himself in the early 2000s, when, for one development proposal, it implored the applicant to put in a golf course.
“The bottom line is, if you don’t have any growth at all, it’s detrimental to your community. And I see that this developer coming in and offering amenities to the community, and personally, I think it would be good for Coalville to have some type of growth, to have a higher tax base than what we have now,” Boyer said. “Coalville city probably has the highest tax rate in Summit County because our property values are so much lower than everywhere else in the county. And it makes it hard for Coalville city to do anything. It would be nice if we could fix the roads on a regular basis, or we could put in a park. I think now that you have an individual or a group that’s trying to make an investment to Coalville city, I think that’s a good thing. To me, the amount of homes doesn’t bother me.”
Chris Horne said he is a transplant to Coalville who wonders about the future there for his children. With that in mind, he is supporting the project.
“It’s not just for plumbing and sewers and the roads, and hiring new city employees and all these things that are very important that we haven’t had enough of here,” Horne said. “But it’s also for education, and it’s for growth of our youth that we have here. And its for opportunities for sports, and all those different things that everybody here holds so near and dear. And so I can understand the balance that is needed between these two different ideologies, if you will, of development versus maintaining what we have. And as is mentioned by the applicant, it’s an incredible opportunity to have such a big developer, and such an expensive development somewhere where it’s not in the middle of Coalville. It’s not on Main Street. It’s hidden back behind this hill.”
On the other hand, Louise Willoughby, a prominent opponent, asked the Council to consider why they put so much effort into opposing the plan.
“We understand the right to build 125 homes and one golf course,” Willoughby said. “We do not oppose this. But I would like to ask why was there so much opposition to Application One, to the point that citizens were willing to spend their hard-earned money to hire an attorney, or give up their precious free time to go door-to-door in an effort to allow every citizen a voice, or to spend hours researching all the documents that have been posted under Application Two, for the purpose of informing themselves, other citizens, and even the City Council about the complex consequences of approving the nightly rental and all that was requested in the MPD. What did we as citizens have to gain from all this hard work? I would like to suggest—nothing.”
Willoughby said Coalville residents are trying to preserve their water resources and maintain the rural character of the town.
Corey Hull said he lives in Coalville to get away from the city. Now, he says, Wohali is bringing the city there. And he said you can’t undo the impact of the development.
“You can’t get it back. You can’t say, ‘All right, I’m sick of all the people, let’s go back,’” he said. “Yeah, you’re gonna get a bigger tax revenue to do stuff. But is it really gonna change that much. Are our kids gonna get that much more out of it? They’re not. Right now, we have smaller class sizes. We’ve got great teachers. We’ve got sports. It’s smaller. Because it’s smaller, our kids get to be more active in it. There’s not as much competition like you’ll see in a 4A school. You’re changing everything.”