LDS church puts plans to demolish Thanksgiving Point driving range on hold

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LEHI, Utah – Officials with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say it is putting its plans on hold to demolish a Thanksgiving Point driving range and put two large office buildings in its place.

The LDS church was to present its plans with VCBO Architecture at a Lehi City planning meeting July 30 however, the church has withdrawn its request for the hearing.

Last week, developers met with residents face-to-face for the first time.
Residents voiced their opposition to the LDS church’s plans and have asked the church to find another place to put its office buildings.

Kim Struthers, Lehi city community development director, spoke with the developer Tuesday.

“They said they wanted time to evaluate some of the feedback and comments that they had received from last Thursday. They had a meeting with neighbors,” Struthers said.

Homeowners like Bill Conley is relieved developers are finally paying attention.

Conley claims the conceptual plan is flawed, and is in violation of city development codes.

His biggest concerns are parking and traffic in the heavily congested area.

“Those 800 cars, I estimate several thousands of trips on these residential neighborhoods with people traveling at high rates of speed, we`re just very concerned about the safety of their children,” Conley said.

City planners say their engineers are conducting a traffic study where they’ll look at the impact it will have on that area and any other mitigating factors. If anything major turns up, they’ll address it with developers, which could alter their plans.

Lehi residents who oppose the church’s plans said they are hopeful the LDS church takes this time to find alternate plans for the offices so that people can continue to utilize the existing driving range.

“This is really about keeping green space. As you know, we lost three golf courses to large corporate developers in the Salt Lake area and we just hate seeing that happen,” Conley said.

Officials said the church has not requested a future date for a hearing at this time.

12 comments

  • 8ch

    Now if we could find the same cooperation with the State government and the PRC when it comes to the Prison relocation issue and working with the people. This is respectful and appropriate.

  • Randy

    As was said at the meeting though: the land is likely to be developed, so who would you rather have as neighbors? This may seem as a victory, but it’s possible that another company will end up with the property and build something even bigger without ever talking to the community, which is not legally required in this situation.

    • lizzy smith

      Randy, think about it… If the church ditches it’s plans, the likelihood someone else will develop BIGGER is almost zero. And If they try they’ll have even more opposition and need to address THE SAME issues. And the arrogance that ‘some’ assume that everyone just trusts some certain organizations. Trust is EARNED and so far, their attempts to develop this property quietly is disturbing. Openness and transparency have been totally lacking.

      • JACK JOHNSON

        The LDS Church was considerate of the wishes of the community. Some other land owner may not be so considerate, and would have every right to build within the zoning limits. They may have ZERO interest in your opposition, and there wouldn’t be a thing you could do to stop them.

      • lizzy smith

        Jack, that’s presumptuous and speculative and IF it happens we’ll deal accordingly. The church listened to residents because they HAD TO. The fact that home owners stumbled upon their plans Two days prior says it all.

      • miles (dave)

        lizzy smith

        when a peace of ground is purchased or leased anything can be done with it. as long as the structure and use of the land meets all of the laws, rules and regulations regarding the land. public approval is not needed. just think of all the paper mills, dog food plants, recycling facilities, and garbage dumps that the general public did not wanted there and still dose not like it. but they got put there anyway, and are still there.

        when it comes down to it just as i dont care or need to care about your opinion about what i do with my property (as long as i stay within the things i mentioned earlier) so that church or any one or anything else dose not need to care about lizzys or miles opinion about what they do with it (if they chose to care then that is a showing of grace). now if the people do happen to find some law or something that the city did not that is in violation then that is still not the public opinion that held sway, it is the finding of the violation that would do it.

      • Randy

        I can’t believe that you are accusing the Church of intentionally attempting to build this behind the backs of the community. If they had realized that so many people would be so concerned, I’m sure they would have held the meetings sooner. They saw land, they saw very few homes in very near proximity, they saw that they could meet the requirements of building in the area, so the moved ahead with a plan. Until people from the community started railing on them, I doubt they had any idea that people would be so opposed. If they had gone far enough to conduct a traffic study before the community became aware, I’m sure they would then share their plans and address concerns.

        Legally, they weren’t required to do anything of the sort. This may feel like a victory, but it could end up being far worse for the community. If the Ashton’s and Lehi city put in some serious infrastructure improvements, they could rezone the area and make the entire gold course 100% commercial, which would make them way more money than the golf course ever could.

        On top of all of that, this is a computer engineering building. It brings highly skilled and sough-after employees to the area, some of whom will look to live closer. With the other technology companies developing nearby, it is turning into another Silicon Valley. Have you seen what property values have done in Palo Alto over the last 20 years? If the area expands, expect to see your homes skyrocket in value. But feel free to fight progress really hard and have another area reap the benefits.

      • bikeguy87

        Because it’s private property, the Church has no obligation to earn anyone’s trust. They are only required to follow the law. The Church is simply being considerate in a situation where they have no legal responsibility to do so.

        What would it be like if everything we did on our property had to be accepted by our neighbors through a majority vote or other means of approval? If the Church meets the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance and has approval through the City via that Ordinance, they could pick up a building permit tomorrow and start putting up walls. If that doesn’t seem right, the Ordinance needs to change, not the developer.

  • hemlock

    If the Church capitulates again to selfish home owners (as they did with the proposed construction of a new MTC years ago) it will set a bad president).
    It’s not about green space or safety of the children but their view of the mountain and a few golfers.

  • bikeguy87

    The Church has no obligation to other property owners in the area if they meet the City Code. This may look like a “victory” to some, but what likely happened is that there has been a lot of public clamor which made the issue a political one. A political issue means that City Council members who vote for or against may not be re-elected. So, the developer is contacted and asked if they will work with the City to save the City Council from making an uncomfortable decision.

    The truth is, private property rights are paramount in Utah. If the neighbors don’t want the Church developing on the property, they need to either buy it, or have the City, State, or other public entity buy it so it becomes public land where they have somewhat of a say concerning how the land is used. Unless the new development is going to have some measurable impact on health, safety, and welfare (very narrowly defined) of the surrounding community that cannot be mitigated through anything else than denial, the Church can develop the ground within the parameters of the Zoning Ordinance. That’s how it is. The Church is just being amiable.

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