Lehi residents upset over LDS Church’s proposed plans to develop on driving range

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LEHI, Utah -- For years, the driving range has been a part of the Thanksgiving Point Golf Course in Lehi, and on its southern edge sits the Thanksgiving Point Village neighborhood.

"We bought into what is called a resort community, and we didn't anticipate having any kind of a monstrosity of buildings there with lots of asphalt," said Bill Conley, a resident in Thanksgiving Point Village.

He's working to rally support to oppose a plan to tear out the existing driving range and put in two office buildings. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bought the land and presented a conceptual plan at the Lehi Planning Commission meeting Thursday night.

"Two, four-story structures here on this property, one for the purpose of lease, one for the purpose of family search," said Steven Roll, a member of the Lehi Planning Commission, regarding the plans that were submitted.

He said it is a permitted use based on the way the land is zoned.

"The planning commission really is required to operate within narrow parameters, and we'll need to approve it unless there is some major problem," Roll said.

Neighbors like Conley do see a major problem on their horizon.

"Biggest concern would be traffic," Conley said. "Having an additional thousands of cars in this area."

The city understands it is no small development and said building the new development will add cars to existing roads. More than 750 parking spaces are included in the conceptual plans.

"I would anticipate that there could be some spot improvements, potentially the bridge, we'd probably want to look at that, that's maybe a narrow spot," said Kim Struthers, the Lehi Community Development Director.

He said the city will likely require a traffic study to identify problem spots. But, because the land is zoned to allow this kind of development, the city is not required to hear any public testimony on the project.

On Thursday night, the architect agreed with the planning commission to table the conceptual plan for 30 days to allow time to meet with neighbors and discuss the plans. It may be the only chance neighbors get to have their voice heard before the project goes from plans to construction.

Officials with the LDS Church told FOX 13 News it was unable to comment on development plans until next week.

33 comments

      • Bikeguy87

        Absolutely. As the article says, if there isn’t a major problem (I.e. health, safety, and welfare which doesn’t include property values or if people like it or not) the City can’t deny the application if it meets zoning. If the residents don’t want the development going in, they need to buy the property or find some substantial evidence that proves how the development will negatively impact health, safety, and welfare in a way that can’t be mitigated. A petition isn’t substantial evidence and it’s not going to get these residents what they want.

  • exkanana

    So it’s within the zoning parameters but the neighbors don’t like it? Maybe they should have checked out the zoning before they bought there on the evident assumption that the neighborhood would never change.

    • Max W. Jamison

      We did. It is intuitively obvious that the right place for business buildings is in business parks. They have plenty of room to expand the business park on the other side of the tracks. There was NOTHING in their zoning plan to suggest that they would EVER consider expanding that business park to encroach on the pastoral flavor of gardens, museum, golf course, and river parkway on this side of the tracks.

      There is a MAJOR problem with their expansion plans. Adding a bike path and two large buildings over here will only increase the environmental stress on the golf course, Thanksgiving Point Gardens, the new children’s Museum of Natural Curiosity, AND all three subdivisions south of the proposed new buildings. (Guess where cars exiting the 750 space parking lots will go when they encounter a traffic jamb crossing the railroad bridge and the fast food court on Club House Drive at noon and end of day?)

      • ANOTHERBOB

        C’MON MAX. The term “intuitively obvious” when used in an ironic sense to mean that something is completely obvious, when in reality the exact opposite is true. A property owner has every right in the world to utilize it in accordance with it’s zoning classification. Of course you could offer to buy their property from them.

    • Momgaug

      This is different. It is zoned for Recreational, and has had a beautiful driving range on that land for over 10 years. I am not sure how long the Golf course be in existence, but after all this time to sell the property to build two 4 story buildings, which by the way are taller than any of the other buildings on the East side of the tracks is not aligned with the original plans for this area. Not one building on the south side of the tracks, or homes for that matter, are over 2 stories. 4 Stories is massive, and totally out of place for this beautiful area, and they need to be rethought….. not to mention the thoughts of how much time and the frustration that 800 more automobiles will have, getting to a freeway entrance coming to work, going out for lunch and trying to exit to drive home, mixed with all the other traffic that is there as a result of the hotels, office buildings, and restaurants. The roads in the area are as wide as they can get, 1 tiny 2 lane bridge over the R/R tracks, and going south, through established neighborhoods, and gradeschool children walking or riding bicycles to school. This is an accident waiting to happen.

  • G. C.

    Wah wah wah. I remember when ALL that area was undeveloped. It was nice. Building their housed their ruined the area. So I say build. Build skyscrapers if your want Put the ugliest buildings up to block their view. The area is already ugly. What could it hurt?

    • Max W. Jamison

      Come play a round of golf or visit the gardens or the Museum of Natural Curiosity on THIS side of the tracks before you equate us with the business park on the OTHER side of the tracks.

  • Tony

    Damnit. Not happy about this. Just what we need more traffic and parking lots in place of one of the most beautiful driving ranges. Of course it is the church.

  • Finny Wiggen

    Did the residents not research the zoning plan before moving into the area? You don’t get to blame your own foolishness on the Church, and then try to make up for it by stopping them from using their own private property within the bounds of the law.

    Next time, maybe research the neighborhood before moving in… Just a thought.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        See my response to you above MAX. The value of this property has increased. They might be willing to sell it to you if the price is right.

    • Momgaug

      When the neighborhood was built, the Thanksgiving Point Golf course and driving range, had been there for years. Nobody would have ever guessed that down the road, years down the road, Thanksgiving Point Golf Course would up and sell their driving range to anyone. Certainly not much thought went into the sale of that already developed land, because there are so many ramifications to not only the home owners in the adjoining community, but to the increase in traffic on already too narrow roads and the tiny RR bridge, and more! This plan needs to be rethought, a traffic study done, and all safety issues discussed before moving forward.

  • Xenu

    Imagine if the Islam faith became a real estate company and started buying up land in Utah to build office buildings and malls, what the reaction would be. But since it’s the LDS Church, people don’t think twice about it. cognitive dissonance must be strong with this group! #dontquestion #notacult

    • Bikeguy87

      It has nothing to do with the Church and a whole lot to do with Ambler vs. Euclid. These residents should remember that once they were the ones “ruining the area” by building the houses they live in and that they should have researched the zoning before buying rather than acting like new development by a private property owner within the parameters of a permitted use is a surprise.

      It’s called due diligence.

      • Max W. Jamison

        We HAVE reviewed the Resort Community zoning for Thanksgiving Point. The proposed development violates several provisions, which the Planning Commission conveniently forgot to mention in its meeting. Their worker bees failed in their “due diligence” responsibilities.

  • Momgaug

    This is truly a travesty! This beautiful greenbelt at Thanksgiving Point Golf course driving range, soon to be turned into two – 4 story buildings, with up to 800 parking spaces and 80 bike parking spaces, on acres of asphalt. Neighboring residents already have felt the impact of all the extra traffic, because of all the new construction over the past couple of years with many new restaurants, several new Hotels, and several new high rise office buildings, and those were built on the East side of the R/R tracks, and now more construction is coming to the West side of the tracks. Last year, Thanksgiving Point added a new wonderful feature to their land on the North Side of the Golf course, the Children’s Museum of Discovery. Though this is a wonderful addition to the purpose for which Thanksgiving Point was created, the traffic at all times during the day, is enormous. Add that to when the “Tulip Festival” is in full bloom… and yes, pun intended, the traffic is horrible. When an event at the Golf Course is added, or even a Concert in the Gardens, much, much more traffic is added, with cars lining both sides of the narrow roadway of Garden Drive to find parking. Neighbors to the North and the South of where this building is proposed to begin relatively soon, will all be even more negatively impacted by these two – 4 story buildings built on the Golf Course property, that was recently sold. Property owners in Thanksgiving Village, a beautiful neighborhood nestled inside the golf course and right next to the beautiful greenbelt driving range, are devastated to think of the negative impact these new buildings could have on their community, to the roadways, bringing excessive traffic, noise, and more. When Trax moved in and a substation was positioned just across to the East from the center point of the Thanksgiving Village neighborhood, nobody heard their voices, and the station went in as planned. Then it was decided by the powers that be, that the Jordan River Trail would encroach on their neighborhood land, through their privately owned road (Desert Forest) and property, but you can’t stop progress, and that work is set to ensue very soon. Now two 4-story buildings, with up to 800 parking spaces and asphalt to replace the beautiful pristine beauty of the driving range…. this is not what neighbors in Thanksgiving Village signed up for some 9 years ago, when their neighborhood was created and their lovely homes were built.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      No travesty MOMGAUG. You’ve probably never heard of the fight to build the Main Street Plaza in Salt Lake City. Today everyone loves it.

      • Momgaug

        There are lots of fights, probably one occurs every time a development happens, but this one makes no sense for so many reasons. I personally don’t have problem with the Family History portion of the building, and think it is in keeping with the “Recreational and Family” part of the building. What I oppose is the fact that they are building two 4 story buildings, 1 that will house the Family Search, and the other with an unknown purpose. These two buildings would be the largest and tallest of any other building in the area, up to 800 parking spaces, not enough landscaping, too much more traffic to be added to already tiny (narrow) roads, and the building doesn’t even look like those in the surrounding areas. When neighbors moved in 10 years ago, that land was a beautiful greenbelt driving range and part of the golf course. How could anyone ever imagine that it would be sold, dug up and two large and spacious buildings would be plopped in it’s place?

      • ANOTHERBOB

        Look at the bright side MOMGAUG. At least Utah State isn’t trying to move the prison into this community.

  • Larry Bronemann

    Ivory farms is proposing a 686 acre development just west of us…in Cranberry farms
    WOW 686 acres… think about this … at the usual Ivory development size of 6 houses per acres…yields some 4000 houses … if 3 children per home (plus 2 parents) yields some 20,000 more people.!!!

  • ANOTHERBOB

    This project must make sense to the property owner. It also sounds like they own some (or all) of the property the driving range is on LDS owned land. You should have checked the zoning before you bought your property.

  • JParker

    I live in the neighborhood to the North of Thanksgiving point. Trying to get out of the neighborhood and head anywhere south is a joke. Adding this kind of development is just going to clog it up more. Lehi City is not the best at planning out their communities. Seems like all they see are $$.

  • Goddess Divine

    It has been a long ritmo already and we have no updates on this story. Did the church meet with the upset Lehi residents? What happened at the meeting? What was discussed? And why is the church building a building to lease? Have they become a real state company?

    • Max W. Jamison

      The Planning Commission met on 7 July. Over 75 members of the community showed up and were allowed to speak. The Commission asked the developer to meet with the community before continuing, and to do a traffic study. The Church will be meeting with the Community on 23 July, but the Commission has broken its word by scheduling an approval meeting on 30 July. No traffic study has been done. Not sure why someone is pulling out all of the stops to fast track this and eliminate community input. The purchase of the FAMILY SEARCH subdivision was recorded and approved hours BEFORE the Commission even met. The proposed development violates several provisions of the Resort Community zoning ordinance. And the necessary infrastructure improvements have not even been discussed. What’s the rush? Why did this development even happen? This development makes no sense at all. There is plenty of room to build their two HUGE 120,000 square foot four story buildings (bigger than anything else in Thanksgiving Point) on the OTHER side of the tracks in the business section of Thanksgiving Point.

  • Max W. Jamison

    The Planning Commission have their heads in the sand and their hands in someone else’s pockets. “Spot improvements”? “Problem spots”? All they need to do is drive down Club House Drive at lunch time or at 5:00 PM, and they will know that there are ALREADY three block traffic jambs for drivers attempting to leave the Thanksgiving Point business park. They obviously haven’t tried to attend the annual Tulip Festival or concerts in the park at Thanksgiving Gardens. The residents of ALL of the residential developments north and south of the proposed development are up in arms over the diversion of business traffic through their residential communities, and the inherent danger to their children walking and riding to school. They have LOTS of infrastructure improvements to do before they even THINK of expanding the business park west of the railroad tracks.

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