IVINS — Ivins residents like Chris Haddad and Regina Roper moved to the small Southern Utah city to enjoy the peaceful vistas and starry skies, but as of late, they’re fighting a proposed resort with over 100 total buildings, including two hotels and many rental homes that they say would threaten their quiet way of life.
“The idea of having hotels and people just coming and going and not really giving a damn about what they leave behind is repulsive, especially for this beautiful area,” Haddad said.
Haddad and Roper aren’t alone in their fight. Many Ivins residents showed up at the Ivins City Council meeting Thursday, and although comments from the public weren’t accepted at the meeting, they all came to show solidarity against the proposed Snow Canyon Resort. Nearly every seat in the small City Council chambers was filled.
The plans for the 113-acre resort include the hotels with 650 total guest rooms, 71 town houses, 24 larger homes for families, parking garages and restaurants. If approved, it would be built on undeveloped land east of Puerto Drive from the eastern end of 400 South in Ivins – land that is currently owned by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.
Many of the people at Thursday’s City Council meeting also showed up at the Ivins City Planning Commission meeting Sept. 4 to hear the first presentation of the resort’s plans.
Mike Rodgriquez, building and zoning administrator, presented the plans to the city council. While the official application to build the resort has not yet been submitted to the city yet, the plans are preemptively being presented to the City Council because of how large the project will be if approved.
“I suspect (developers) just wanted to get it out there so we could all get nervous,” Mayor Chris Hart said at the meeting. “We have no idea when or even if they will come in with an application.”
People who came to listen to the City Council mostly respected Hart’s request of no public comments at the meeting, although many laughed when Rodgriquez said efforts would be made to minimize the impact on the natural terrain in the construction project.
From lack of infrastructure to love of nature
One of the concerns Haddad has for Snow Canyon Resort is how the city will provide the necessary infrastructure, like water, sewage and larger roads to handle the traffic. She fears expanding the sewage and water systems in the city will not only be a problem for local government but for members of the community who pay taxes.
The resort will also inevitably bring more traffic to Ivins, Haddad said, even if they are planning on building new roads through the resort.
“Ivins is known for the low lighting, the quietness, the lack of traffic – that whole concept of the resort is against why so many people live out here,” she said.
Roper, who helped start the movement against Snow Canyon Resort that she’s calling “Resist the Resort,” said many people in Ivins moved to the area because of how close it is to nature and the rural feel of the community. Building Snow Canyon Resort would potentially desecrate the land it’s built on, Roper said.
When asked if they would support a resort being built in Ivins if the plans were not as large as the ones for Snow Canyon Resort, Haddad said she would if the plans were scaled down, but Roper said she doesn’t want to see any resort built in Ivins at all.
“If they need affordable housing for young families, let’s build family homes in some areas,” Roper said. “But personally, I don’t want to see a resort there.”
Continuing the fight
Concerned residents like Roper and Haddad are already planning to prepare signs and buttons with the slogan “Resist the Resort” printed on them. A Facebook page with the same slogan will be updated with ways residents can oppose the resort plans, Roper said.
Although Thursday’s City Council meeting did not allow public comments, Hart promised there will be many opportunities for residents to voice their concerns at additional meetings during every step of the process.
Roper said Ivins residents will continue to come to the City Council meetings to oppose the resort, even if they aren’t allowed to voice their concerns. If the plans move forward, there may be plans to get real estate attorneys involved to take their fight with the courts, Haddad said.
“Ultimately, (the City Council) can do whatever they want,” Roper said. “Maybe they don’t care about the next re-election, but they need to know that if they vote for this, they’re not going to get re-elected.”
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