‘We want to get feedback’: Balance of Nature proposes zone change for 162 acres in Hurricane

Balance of Nature founding member Dr. Douglas Howard (standing center) addresses members of the Hurricane City Council and Planning Commission, Hurricane, Utah, March 2, 2021 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

HURRICANE — Members of the Hurricane City Council and the Planning Commission met Tuesday night in City Hall to discuss the ongoing process of updating the city’s general plan, including a proposal from a St. George-based company for a zone change of a 162-acre parcel of land.

Hurricane Mayor John Bramall defined the general plan as “what we want to see in Hurricane’s future to protect things like agriculture, recreation, lifestyle and community quality.”

“We’ve spent the last 18 months developing this update to the plan,” Bramall said, adding that over the course of those months, public input was sought through public hearings, online, Facebook and email requests.

“We’ve had people put in their feelings and opinions,” he said. “They’ve been a part of this plan that has been presented tonight.”

The focus of Tuesday’s discussion was the general plan map, which defines zoning and pinpoints what kind of development will be allowed in specific areas in and around Hurricane.

At issue is a 162-acre parcel of land on the old Bench Lake area. St. George-based company Balance of Nature hopes to develop a worldwide campus on the property. Founder Dr. Douglas Howard and CEO Lex Howard were on hand Tuesday to talk to council members about the proposed project.

Photo from Balance of Nature Facebook page, April 30, 2020, St. George News

Dennis Leavitt, vice president of public relations at Balance of Nature, spoke with St. George News after the presentation.

“We came to the working meeting for the Hurricane City Council and the Planning Commission so that we could have them consider making a zone change so that the development plan that we have in place for 162 acres that we purchased could be zoned properly in order to accommodate what our vision is for a development plan,” said Leavitt.

The current zoning for the property is agricultural. The updated general plan map would have to change that zoning to mixed use in order to accommodate Balance of Nature’s proposed development.

“It’s a game changer for those acres,” Bramall said. “It could become like Thanksgiving Point (in Lehi, Utah), a destination location in Hurricane, and that changes the game. That says we need to bring this much water to that area, (and) we need to bring that much power to the area.”

Balance of Nature is a rapidly growing business that employs approximately 900 people in St. George and 100 more in a new manufacturing and distribution warehouse recently built in Hildale.

The company makes food products out of flash-dried fruits and vegetables. They come in the form of veggie, fruit and spice caplets that are sold nationwide. Company executives have been thinking about the new Hurricane campus for three years, Leavitt said.

“It would be a place where we would have our headquarters and campus. We want to stay in Washington County long term. We grew up here and have our roots here and want to maintain those deep,” he said.

“We have a large employee base. We’re going to continue to have a large employee base that grows and grows, and we want to have a campus designed where all of them can work together and work in an environment that is vibrant and fun and educational.”

During the presentation, Douglas Howard was asked how many jobs the company envisions providing at the Hurricane facility.

“How many do you want?” he responded.

Nothing was voted on at the work meeting, as the process of updating the general plan is ongoing.

“We’ll now wait for the Planning Commission and the city officials to determine whether or not they would make the adaptation so we could move forward,” Leavitt said. “We’re going to continue to work with city officials and with community members. We want to get feedback and create a partnership to say, ‘How should our vision be adapted in order to become the best partner possible with Hurricane City?’”

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Hurricane City Council is Thursday at 5 p.m.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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