"The planning and zoning and even the city council at that time pretty much changed the zoning for that parcel to meet the [needs of the] developer," said Jay Thomas, a resident who was vocally against the development from the outset and is now running for city council. "They actually kind of pieced it together."
The history behind the development goes back further than its approval date suggests. The council initially rejected the plan in April 2014, prompting a lawsuit from the developer, who argued the council's decision was "arbitrary, capricious and illegal." After undergoing some revisions and addressing city concerns, the plan was approved in June 2015, despite heavy opposition from many residents, and the developer dropped the lawsuit.
"There was a huge outcry from the neighbors around here because basically this development doesn't fit in this neighborhood," Thomas said. "We kept going to city council [to speak on the issue during public hearing] and they kept postponing it and postponing it and postponing it and finally people were out of steam."
Langford, however, said the extended timeline is not unusual.
"It's a big project," he said. "It's pretty common for people to get approval and then kind of work through the final details. It takes several years."
He said engineering, water and financing challenges contributed to delays.
One of the developers, Joe Colosimo, has had issues with financing development projects in the past.
As of November 2015, he was among defendants in a deficiency judgment of more than $6.7 million for a project in Herriman under the business name Oak Hollow, LLC, according to court documents. The property was subsequently foreclosed and sold at a sheriff's auction.
Attempts to reach the developer were unsuccessful.
As the Gardner Village project moves forward, West Jordan Mayor Kim Rolfe said he had seen no reason for concern over the financial viability of the project.
"I don't know anything about any of the particulars," he said. "We haven't gotten into any of their finances."
He said he was previously unaware of the default on the Oak Hollow development but said the city requires a bond to protect the public improvement portions of developments.