Two Creeks in Herriman, Utah: A Disaster in Density

By DaybreakMan, on 09-08-2008 22:19

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     In an earlier post I mentioned housing density and how it impacts the surrounding community. The main point of the article was to show that density in and of itself is not a bad thing. However, if a dense development is not properly planned and located, it will almost certainly have a detrimental effect on the community.

     When writing that article, I was not aware of the aspirations of a developer to build a high-density rental development in Herriman. Considering the proximity to Daybreak, this development will almost certainly affect those residents of Founders Park Village. Daybreak as a whole will be affected by this new development as the new high school for the area will be located adjacent to the development.

     The new development will be called Two Creeks. Miller Timbergate Associates LLC appeared before the Herriman City government to gain approval for the first two phases of the project: Timbergate and Farmgate. These two phases will be dense. At around 20 units per acre, this will truly be the densest development around. Even Daybreak following the concept of new urbanism cannot claim densities as high as this development. Even if densities get higher in Daybreak in the future, they will be integrated into the community with a transect style of planning. Two Creeks is located near homes that are not even close to the planned density of nearby developments. Imagine your home next to multiple 4 story, 32 unit complexes. The Two Creeks plan suggests that the developer wants to develop his land his way without regard to the surrounding community in a piecemeal fashion that really doesn't fit.

     The estimated population of the two approved projects is 1,696 people. With this many people, traffic is a real concern. However, this development will be located next to the proposed path of the Mountain View Corridor. By doing this, much of the traffic from the development will likely be dissipated. Not a bad idea right? Most local governments are in cooperation through Envision Utah to put higher densities next to the transit corridors. One problem with this plan is that it assumes that the Mountain View Corridor will be built and that when it is built that it will not be a toll road. If it is a toll road, I cannot imagine many of the residents of Two Creeks utilizing the road. TRAX is nearby, but these residents will be made to cross not only 118th South, but also the Mountain View Corridor to access it. Unless significant infrastructure is put in place to make this crossing safe, you will see additional problems. It will just be easier for them to hop in a car and drive. The location of this development, on the fringe of Salt Lake County, should also be a consideration as the price of gas would prevent the necessary long commute for many of these residents. Most of which are calculated to not have substantial financial means.

     The traffic problem will only be exacerbated by the fact that the new area high school will be located literally within feet of the development. I wonder if all of the sports facilities that come along with the high school will be perceived as amenities for Two Creeks. Also, with the concentration of a lower socio-economic population you will have dual working parents and transient families. With many of the parents gone, I can imagine quite a few students hanging out in Two Creeks without supervision after school.

     The single worst part of this development is that it will concentrate thousands of citizens of a lower socio-economic class. As stated in an earlier post about density this can cause a multitude of problems. Crime and social disruption will increase in this area with such a large concentration. This cluster will enable all of the myths that are associated with a higher-density development to have an opportunity to come true.

     I have it from a good source that these units are meant for government Section 8 housing. The Section 8 program allows those who qualify to pay rents that are adjusted to their income. 30% of their income goes to rent. For example, if a low-income family made 1500 dollars per month they would spend about 450 dollars for rent each month. The government covers the rest. This program can truly help those in need, but the idea is to spread those who are on the program over a wide geographic area not concentrate them. We already have Section 8 families in our community, but they are dispersed.

     So why is this happening and why now? With the housing market being in doubt there are many people waiting out the market in hopes to buy when the market starts to go up again. Other people cannot afford a mortgage as the new lending criteria prevents them from qualifying. So what do these people do? They rent. With Utah’s strong economy, there are more people moving to the valley in search of jobs and many will opt to rent for a variety of reasons. All of this combined has pushed monthly rents up 10% in the last year alone. The rental market is starting to look really attractive to a lot of investors. I would not be surprised to see a lot of developments pop up in various communities that are high density and haven’t been integrated properly. That is why people need to be more involved at the local government level about what happens in their community. I believe the Sunstone residents (just to the west of Daybreak) would agree with me as they seem to have attended the relevant meetings and have even appealed the approval of Two Creeks. Hopefully this mess will be stopped before it is too late.

     Attached is a map of the entire area of the new High School (opening fall 2010)  going in on 118th and the MVC and its surroundings...

     I want to say thank you to Daybreak Man for working with me on this story, I helped with research, he wrote the story (he's a better writer) and pleae remember to visit Daybreak Man's blog for other great stories at : http://daybreaktoday.blogspot.com/


Last update: 10-09-2008 22:31

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Two Creeks in Herriman, Utah: A Disaster in Density
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