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Plan for 349 homes in Coalville gets commission recommendation

A development proposal would bring 350 new homes to Coalville, 60% of the city's current total. The project has development rights dating back more than 20 years.
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A development proposal would bring 350 new housing units to Coalville, 60% of the number of homes currently in the city. The project has development rights dating back more than 20 years.

Last week, the Coalville Planning Commission recommended a 350-home project on the city’s south side. It is now up to the city council to evaluate a project that’s almost 2/3 the size of the existing city.

There are 580 homes in Coalville, according to the city, and now the city council is considering a project that would add 350 more homes to the city’s south side. That would increase the number of rooftops in Coalville by more than half.

The Red Hills Ranch proposal from developer Ivory Homes calls for 349 homes on roughly 250 acres along Hoytsville Road about 2 miles south of city hall. The Coalville Planning Commission last Monday recommended the master planned development and first phase preliminary plan proposal. The city council is set to discuss the project Monday night; the agenda does not call for a vote.

The project has development rights dating back 20 years and the city apparently has little leeway to reject it. Tonja Hanson was the only commissioner to vote against the proposal.

“I don't see anything in here as a benefit to the community of Coalville. I see everything as a benefit to your development," Hanson said. "So me, as a citizen of Coalville, what's in it for me that you're going to add all of these new homes and people to our community?”

Hanson also said she wanted more information about the developer’s source of water.

Nick Mingo, who represented Ivory Homes, said the developer has the necessary water rights and would explore how to bring that water to the site. But Mingo said Ivory Homes doesn’t want to invest in costly engineering work to design infrastructure systems before the project is approved.

The commission added several conditions to its recommendation. Those include the developer identifying a new source of culinary water, paving about 2 miles of the Rail Trail and making acceleration and braking lanes on Hoytsville Road. The project also includes 29 units of affordable housing.

Significant parts of the project are already approved. The city annexed the land into its borders in 2001 and the project is governed by a development agreement negotiated at the time. That agreement calls for not more than 284 housing units plus any density bonuses available in the city code.

According to a report from Coalville Community Development Director Don Sargent, Red Hills earned the additional homes by dedicating more open space in the project than the code requires.

Sargent said the 2001 agreement entitled the project's density “to some extent,” but this master planned development negotiation with the city would lock in those numbers.

He said water is the biggest remaining issue. The development agreement requires the developer to provide enough water to serve the project, including new wells or river diversion infrastructure if necessary.

Mingo said the city has changed its preferred method for sourcing the required water many times, preferring at times shallow wells, Weber River diversion and other methods.

Sargent said it’s up to the developer to come up with a plan to provide water that meets city council approval.

“I will agree with you on that, it has been all over the page on where to provide water for this project," Sargent told the developer. "Not only from the applicant standpoint, the city is taking responsibility for that too, because we don't really know what would be the preferred. It is really the applicant’s prerogative to propose where the water would come from and meet the standard of the annexation agreement of 2001.”

This is the second project in the last few years that has the potential to reshape Coalville. The city underwent a bruising, multi-year development approval process for the Wohali golf course resort, which the city approved in late 2020. That includes 125 single family homes and more than 300 nightly rental units in a lodge and stand-alone cabins.

When the city annexed that land in 2018, it doubled the city’s acreage.

The Red Hills project is next to the Cedar Crest Village Overlay Zone, which also involves Ivory Homes. Summit County is evaluating a plan to make a new village there, potentially adding hundreds or thousands of homes to the area.

Alexander joined KPCW in 2021 after two years reporting on Summit County for The Park Record. While there, he won many awards for covering issues ranging from school curriculum to East Side legacy agriculture operations to land-use disputes. He arrived in Utah by way of Madison, Wisconsin, and western Massachusetts, with stints living in other areas across the country and world. When not attending a public meeting or trying to figure out what a PID is, Alexander enjoys skiing, reading and watching the Celtics.