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Developer requests code exceptions to build golf lodge above Jordanelle Reservoir

A rendering shows the proposed golf lodge.
A rendering shows the golf building in the SkyRidge development. A lodge is proposed for construction next to these golf facilities.

SkyRidge is applying to build a golf lodge that’s double the permitted height. The developer is asking the Wasatch County Council to grant exceptions through the same process used for the Heber Valley temple.

The lodge is planned for a site east of U.S. 40, across from Deer Valley’s Jordanelle gondola. It will be called theStelle Park City.

The Military Installation Development Authority (MIDA) is a quasi-government entity in charge of developing land to benefit members of the military. It’s building a golf course and equestrian center in the same area.

Jack Johnson, a consultant for SkyRidge, told the Wasatch County Council more about the golf lodge plans at a meeting May 1.

“Hopefully we’re bringing public amenities to the project with meaningful military activity and discounts for the military folks,” he said.

The lodge would include 32 guest units, three of which will be given to MIDA.

But the plans conflict with county code. The lodge would be 75 feet tall, more than double the existing 35-foot limit. It would also introduce higher density than what’s allowed in a residential area, and it won’t meet on-site parking requirements.

Deputy county attorney Jon Woodard explained the project has so far used an administrative approval process. But that process can’t grant exceptions to the county code, which is why the project is before the council now.

“Using the legislative development agreement allows for you to approve a unique project with greater discretion than you’d have under the normal code,” he said. “You can allow things that would otherwise be prohibited, as long as you determine that it’s in the interest of the general welfare.”

SkyRidge said the county should bend the rules for the lodge. It said the building will be an appropriate scale for the site and fit in with the landscape. And it argued the higher number of units should be allowed because the units they’ll give to MIDA won’t be subject to the county’s land use code. As for parking, the developer said it will construct supplemental off-site parking and provide valet service.

The lodge will be built northwest of the Jordanelle Reservoir, across from Deer Valley's expanded terrain.
The lodge will be built northwest of the Jordanelle Reservoir, across from Deer Valley's expanded terrain.

Woodard said legislative development agreements are unusual, but since the lodge sits in the MIDA project area, he thinks it makes more sense to use an LDA than to amend the overall county code.

“This project includes unique things that we don’t anticipate we’ll see again – a golf lodge with MIDA units,” he said. “So I don’t think that there would be a big benefit to trying to update the code to address this specific project.”

A legislative development agreement is the same process the county used to approve plans for the Heber Valley temple. The temple LDA has attracted significant public attention and controversy, including an ongoing lawsuit.

Woodard nodded to the temple agreement in his presentation to the county council. He said since the county agreed to an LDA for the temple, developers have been asking to use that process for more projects.

“Since we’ve kind of cracked open this door, we’ve had a lot of people knocking on it, wanting us to open it further,” he said.

To be granted the legislative development agreement, SkyRidge’s application must go through at least three public hearings: the planning commission, the Jordanelle Specially Planned Area planning commission, and the Wasatch County Council will each hold a hearing. It must also go through MIDA’s development review committee.

The county council agreed to follow these steps to move the process forward.