It happened. Olympia Hills has been given the green light by the Salt Lake County Council in a 6-to-3 vote in favor of this massive high-density development. "Woe is me!" cried area homeowners and some have threatened to "force a referendum!" to put the zoning changes to a vote this fall.
What's the big deal? Some may think back 15 years when Kennecott Land announced a 4,000-acre master-plan community—Daybreak—on the west side of the valley. Most have forgotten the citizen outrage that so many homes, condos and apartments were going to be built around a man-made lake. The NIMBYs (not in my back yard) screamed that traffic would be hell, the views interrupted and that there was no support for such a project. Plus, developers had the audacity to actually design and market the residences as look-alikes to historic homes in the Avenues, Sugar House and the Harvard-Yale areas of the east side. Now, years later, SoDa Row in Daybreak is a hip place to hang out, see concerts in the summer and hop on the TRAX Red Line. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put the icing on the cake by opening the Oquirrh Mountain Temple in 2009.
Olympia Hills is a quarter of the size of Daybreak. Developers plan to build homes, condos and apartments in phases. The first calls for 1,440 residences that will take five to seven years to complete. The master plan envisions 6,330 residences in and around Herriman over 25 years. Of course, sewer lines, utilities, roads and additional schools will have to be built to accommodate growth. Currently, Daybreak has four schools and a charter school, with a middle school under construction. Amenities include a community center, two swimming pools, 22 miles of trails, 12+ community parks and the man-made Oquirrh Lake.
The Gardner Institute says Utah's population reached 3 million in 2015 and will hit 4 million by 2030 and 5 million in 2050. Open space is sparse no matter if you like or dislike massive housing projects. To get a referendum on the November ballot or on a ballot in 2021, those fighting Olympia Hills need thousands of signatures ASAP.