County Denies Rezone for Tavaci Development

Aug 7, 2013

The Salt Lake County council has denied the rezone application for a controversial development near the mouth of big Cottonwood Canyon. Council members cited building heights, canyon access and a general lack of support from the community and city leaders.

Speaking on behalf of Tavaci Developer Terry Diehl, Attorney Bruce Baird assured the council, if they approved the zoning application, his client would comply with any additional conditions the county might impose.  

“If the county engineer says you have to do something, we’ll do it," Baird said. "If the county fire department says you have to do something, or you can’t do something, we’ll do what we have to do and we won’t do what we can’t do.”

But promises weren’t enough for 4 of the 7 members of the council who voted against the rezone. District 2 Councilman Michael Jensen argued the process for approving rezones is flawed.

“If they can’t meet the conditions then the development might not ever get done, or the conditions might be so steep that economically they can’t go through with it, but they’ve still got the zone change," Jensen said. "If we could hold them to exactly what they said they were going to build, we probably would unanimously say, okay. But we can’t.

Terry Diehl originally planned to build a cluster of homes on his 47-acre parcel, but later sought rights from Cottonwood Heights to build a mix of residential and commercial units as tall as eight stories high. When Cottonwood Heights gave Diehl a thumbs down, he approached the county.

Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore said while Diehl was entitled as a property owner to approach the county, the project will still have a direct impact on his city.

“We view a building of eight stories sitting up on that plateau as kind of a middle finger pointing back at the city that denied the application," Cullimore said. "We really would rather not see that tall of structures.”

Attorney Bruce Baird told KUER his client will need time to decide how to move forward with the development.