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Looking to annex Olympia Hills property, Herriman leaders approve $30,000 to determine best density

HERRIMAN — After outrage led Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams to veto the high-density Olympia Hills development, Herriman city leaders are now gearing up to work with the developer to perhaps have some say over the project.

Earlier this month, the Herriman City Council approved a $30,000 budget amendment to fund a study of the 930-acre property and what kind of density would be appropriate for the area's infrastructure.

The results of the study could produce a proposal to the Olympia Hill's developer, Doug Young, to find middle-ground on the project and potentially lead to the annexation of the property into Herriman city limits, Gordon Haight, Herriman's assistant city manager, said Friday.

"I've talked to Doug, and I think we just need to figure out what the city's comfortable with and get back to him to see if we can approve a plan that would work for everybody," Haight said.

Young did not return a request for comment Friday.

It's up to the developer to submit an application for annexation, so Haight said any proposals or agreements made regarding the property (located between 6300 West and 8500 West and 12400 South and 13100 South) hinge on the results of the study, expected in roughly three months.

"What we're trying to determine is we want to make sure we're responsible for the infrastructure — that we don't propose anything that's going to hurt the residents or diminish the quality of life we have," Haight said.

The site for the Olympia Hills proposal is in unincorporated county bounds — meaning Herriman officials don't have any say over planning the area; it's within the county's jurisdiction.

Before McAdams vetoed it, the Salt Lake County Council had approved the development with a density for an estimated 30,000 residents — a proposal Herriman officials and leaders from other south valley cities fought. A group of concerned residents also filed an application for a referendum to put the development on a future ballot, had McAdams not vetoed it.

Herriman leaders have long considered the land as a potential area for annexation, Michael Maloy, Herriman's city planner, told council members during a July 11 work session meeting.

Regardless of whether the property is in our outside of Herriman's boundaries, Councilwoman Nicole Martin said a study of the area would be "very helpful information to relay to the county, to relay to the public, to relay to our residents."

"My initial thought was I didn't want the city to spend $30,000 putting together a plan that was hinged on Olympia Hills being in our city, because I'm not entirely certain that the developer has given us any sort of commitment that that's the case," Martin said, but she supported the study to collect information for what would or wouldn't be appropriate for the area.

Haight told council members the study would be an "opportunity" for Herriman, noting that he's been in communication with Young and his team.

"They're more than happy to do an application for the city, but they want to know what it is we're going to do and how we're going to keep it from being a referendum," Haight said, adding that after the study is complete, city officials can "go to Doug and say, 'This is what we have to offer.'"

Councilman Jared Henderson noted city officials "can't do anything" to stop a referendum application.

"That's (up to) the residents," he said.

Haight acknowledged that, adding that if city officials aren't "comfortable" with the proposal coming back before the County Council, "I think we need to be very proactive and decide what we want to do with this property, make the decision, and I think we can annex it into our city."

Haight said Friday he and other city officials also plan to involve leaders from other cities, including South Jordan and Riverton.

As of Friday, after McAdams' sent the project back to the drawing board when he vetoed the project, no other application for the area had been submitted to Salt Lake County officials for consideration, McAdams' spokeswoman Michelle Schmitt said.

Schmitt noted that McAdams "feels strongly that transportation congestion issues must be addressed before new development plans move forward."

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