Our Holladay | Urban Living
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Our Holladay

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While visitors and locals flocked to Sundance or to ski what snow we have, the citizens and the Planning Commission of Holladay spoke loud and clear to Ivory and Woodbury Homes about a 136-foot-tall commercial high-rise at the old Cottonwood Mall location. That's about 12 stories in an area where the tallest building is no more than three stories high. I'd say the citizens felt the developers' plan looked like a festering pimple in the middle of their smooth-skinned city.

According to the city's Wikipedia page, is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the state "since Salt Lake City was abandoned for a time in 1857 when Johnson's Army occupied the city." It's named after John Holladay, a branch president of the LDS church. In 1846, John's family joined a group of Mormon converts called The Mississippi Company, which was heading to Utah. Back then, they didn't have phones or even a telegraph, and were unaware that the main migrating group led by Brigham Young had been delayed by a year. So the contingent wintered in Pueblo, Colo., and reached Salt Lake Valley in 1847.

Before there were homes in Holladay, there was a stream called Spring Creek (near what is now Kentucky Avenue). The first settlers built dugouts along this stream. It was an area with great meadows, grasses and wildflowers for horses and cattle. People still have horses in Holladay because there are patches of zoning where it's perfectly OK to have a pony in your back yard.

The planning commission didn't like Ivory or Woodbury Home's vision for the Cottonwood Mall site, and voted 5-1 to deny them approval. But the game isn't over yet. Now, a new planning process has begun with more open meetings to get local input. One proposal calls for 40 of the 57 acres to be set aside for homes. However, Holladay City is looking for more tax-producing commercial property to help pay for additional services future owners will want and need, including police, firefighters, streets, etc. Thus, less homes, please?

Sadly, there are no rules in Holladay about including affordable housing. Only citizens and planning commissioners can ask for that to be part of the deal. Holladay is known for higher-end homes and condominiums and locals aren't going to be pleased if low-rent apartments go in a few blocks from their million-dollar mansions and horse properties.