The controversial Olympia Hills housing project is back for review and possible approval

(Michael Mangum | Special to the Tribune) A tree planting ceremony sits in front of a vast wheat field at the site of the proposed Olympia Hills development project in Herriman, UT on Saturday, June 22, 2019. The event celebrated the proposed Bastian Agricultural Center as part of the proposed development of the land.

The controversial Olympia Hills housing project proposed near Herriman is back for review and possible approval by Salt Lake County.

County officials announced Thursday they were releasing a host of documents tied to the second application by developer Doug Young to build the 933-acre, high-density residential and commercial development — in advance of public hearings now scheduled for Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. and Jan. 28 at 4 p.m.

Those meetings will be held in County Council chambers at the Salt Lake County Government Center, 2001 South State Street.

“We are releasing the information well in advance of the public hearings in order to give the public ample time to review and ask questions regarding this application,” Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said in a statement.

Wilson has said she expects the project will be approved.

Thousands of pages of new traffic study documents, design standards and reviews of the project’s compatibility with the region, its open space, strategy on affordable housing and more can now be found at olympiahillsrezone.com

Many residents of cities in the southwest portion of Salt Lake County are wary of Olympia Hills and its potential impact on public schools, water supplies and already-congested roads serving the region.

An earlier and more dense version of the massive development — expected to add up to 8,765 new dwellings and related buildings on what is currently farmland just west of Herriman — was approved in 2018, only to be vetoed by then-County Mayor Ben McAdams in the face of public opposition.

Young submitted a revised application in June, proposing to build an estimated 6,300 single-family homes, townhomes, apartments and other dwellings spread over the same area, along with shops, offices and other commercial buildings.

Young, who is seeking to have the land in question rezoned from agricultural and industrial uses to allow for a planned community, did not immediately respond Thursday to an inquiry seeking comment.

But in a statement issued Wednesday, Young noted that changes to the project had slashed the number of homes by a third and deployed a revised and expanded study of traffic in the region.

The developer said he had also secured an agreement with Jordan School District on setting aside several parcels in Olympia Hills for new public schools “to serve the community, as needs are determined.”

Justin Swain, an organizer with a group called Herriman for Responsible Growth, which opposed the first Olympia Hills proposal, said members were monitoring the new application closely. The group has also sought to meet with the County Council on the project’s new details separate from January’s hearings, he said.

Ryan Perry, the county’s director of regional planning and transportation, said that in its latest approach to Olympia Hills, the county has imposed robust design standards, setting specific rules on streets, parks, open space and building designs.

“These are requirements that will definitely shape the community and add a lot more definition to what happens,” Perry said.

The county is also requiring Young to construct and pay for all required traffic improvements inside the project, Perry said — as well as pay a share of costs for road upgrades needed elsewhere in the county.

“This is not typical,” he said.

The county is also requiring that Olympia Hills dedicate five acres of park land per 1,000 residents. At least 20% of the entire 933 acres must be be dedicated to open space, including a 50-acre regional park, four 10-acre community parks and a park within a quarter-mile of every home in the project.

Young has also promised to set aside 100 acres in Olympia Hills for a new teaching facility run by Utah State University, to be dubbed the Bastian Agricultural Center, after longtime residents Elmer and Margaret Bastian, who farmed the area for generations.