Huzzah for West Valley | Urban Living
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Huzzah for West Valley

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The second largest city in Utah is West Valley City and is home to the Maverik Center and Usana Amphitheatre. It's a city made up of the suburbs of Redwood, Chesterfield, Granger and Hunter. Its history goes back to the 1800s when a Mormon settler, Joseph Harker, claimed land west of the Jordan River. Granger was settled by more Mormons, this time from Wales. They helped establish massive irrigation canals for farms that sprouted up as more people staked out land. It became an officially incorporated city in 1980 and has just kept growing, with Trax helping to make the area readily accessible.

WVC has a mayor and six city councilmembers who preside over city policies for its almost 200,000 residents. I have to give them a big "Huzzah!" for sitting down and approving a Residential Sustainabilty Zone. It creates a climate change warrior's paradise. New housing would require solar roofing, exterior walls to have an insulation of R-30 and ceilings of R-60; furnaces with a 95% or higher gas-efficiency rating, tankless water heaters, all Energy Star rated appliances, electric car chargers, only WaterSense toilet and bathroom fixtures and xeriscaping. Imagine all new construction in this zone to be this environmentally friendly.

East-siders might actually cross State Street and flock to the sunset side of the valley. Of course, they'd be asked to give up single-pane leaded windows and perfect grass lawns and to help stop global warming. The homes would have two-car garages (remember, with Tesla-friendly electric charging outlets) and at least 1,400 square feet of above-ground living space.

Sadly, like much of the entire Salt Lake Valley, there isn't much vacant land to build large sustainable housing developments. Developers and builders are doing everything they can to knock on doors and buy properties to assemble them into much larger plots for subdivisions, but often have to simply put in small townhomes or high-rise apartment buildings on infill lots.

Those original pioneers had dreams of a beautiful city along a winding river that flows into the Great Salt Lake. That area sits almost smack dab in the middle of the Salt Lake Valley and has drop-dead views of the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountains. The new zoning is the first and largest proposed by any town or city that I know of in the state. It's worth watching to see if old fashioned can-do spirit will win out.

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