SPRINGDALE – While much of the U.S. worries about not enough growth, the Zion Park gateway community of Springdale is worried about too much. After two large new hotels and two new art galleries opened their doors for business within a few months, town officials have become concerned that growth has accelerated so much that essential services might be stretched too far and quality of life for Springdale residents may be compromised. Nearly all Springdale candidates for the upcoming mayor and town council election list too much growth as a top concern.
To plan the town’s future, Springdale authorities decided to gather input from Springdale citizens. A recent Internet based survey was made available and responses from almost a quarter of the residents were received. The survey was the main topic at an August 6 Special Meeting of the Springdale Planning Commission.
Springdale residents who responded to the survey were over 80 percent negative about “Increased traffic on Zion Park Blvd” and “Increased demand on town utilities (water, sewer, irrigation).”
In contrast, residents were only about 10 percent positive about “Increased economic development.” When asked to suggest words that describe “Village Scale,” an official goal in the Springdale General Plan, the word “small” was used more than twice as frequently as the next most popular word, “walkable.”
During the meeting, sudden new demands on the water treatment services Springdale provides were a concern. Director of Community Development Tom Dansie said that the town’s water treatment plant has a maximum capacity of 400 gallons per minute but during the June heat wave, demand grew to 350 gallons per minute, raising fears that capacity of the plant might be exceeded. In response to a question, Dansie said that Springdale bears the cost of supplying water to the town, even though Springdale residents pay taxes to the Washington County Water Conservancy District which builds and operates similar facilities for the rest of the county. Dansie said that it now appears to be inevitable that Springdale will have to expand the capacity of their treatment plant much sooner than previously planned.
Some surprises were in the survey as well. Although Springdale has created incentives for developers to provide affordable and more dense housing that uses less of Springdale’s increasingly scarce land, apartments, townhomes, condominiums, and duplexes were all considered to have a negative impact on Springdale while three categories of single family homes were all considered to have a positive impact. The most negative type of housing of all was “second homes or vacation homes.”
Because it is limited on all sides, Springdale won’t be able to expand its boundaries. Springdale has done extensive modeling of the possible maximum development that can be done. Commissioner Bill Weyher asked what might limit Springdale’s maximum growth first, water or land? Dansie said that his best guess would be land.
Springdale authorities plan to reach out to the community and sponsor public involvement sessions to get more citizen input in the near future.
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