I recently wrote about goats and the zoning required in order to keep them. Not much of Salt Lake County has agricultural zoning anymore, and now, the county council has voted to eliminate the agricultural zoning designation for a significant number of farms and livestock operations in South Jordan, Herriman, Riverton and West Jordan. You can drive out there now and still see thousands of acres of farmland, but make it quick as the army of bulldozers is on its way to turn wheat and pumpkin fields into housing, retail and offices.
The county council approved almost 8,800 new homes, apartments and buildings on about 1,000 acres, making it the densest housing on the southwest end of the valley. As of press time, that could change as the council has decided to vote again on whether to amend or rescind its decision next week. No, this isn't the Daybreak folks expanding (although they are, and they will). Known as the Olympia development project, it's a response to Utah's housing crunch and will include 4,783 apartments, 2,485 townhouses and 1,497 single-family homes on quarter-acre lots.
The Daybreak community has grown to approximately 15,000 residents, with more than 4,500 new homes completed in their master plan. They project 20,000 more homes by the time their phases of construction are built out. Daybreakliving.com reported that 811 homes were sold there in 2017 at a median price of $389,000 for a single-family residence and $259,900 for townhomes and condos.
Basically, the Olympia project is going to be about two-thirds the size of what Daybreak is right now, and located on mostly farmland between 6300 and 8500 West and 12400 to 13100 South. That kind of growth will impact roads, traffic and infrastructure like a hot lava flow from Kilauea. Bye bye bunnies and birds, bovines and ovines and AG zoning. Hello SUVs, stucco and sidewalks. But then, haven't we seen this before with the NSA and the Silicon Slopes wave of tech companies? Facebook is being given possibly $150 million in tax breaks to locate south of the NSA in Eagle Mountain, and though there will only be reportedly 50 employees, there will be more roads, businesses and office space built.
Utah has been discovered and we're being bulldozed. Think of the zombies in the movie World War Z: hoards of them coming our way very fast. So long sleepy towns; hello suburban nightmares.