Not everyone happy about incoming Atkinville Interchange near SunRiver

ST. GEORGE — Moments after the St. George City Council voted to unanimously approve an amendment to the Atkinville Interchange site plan, a man in the audience expressed his discontent with the decision.

“We’ll remember the next time we vote,” the man said.

“This was just one big railroad,” added another.

Not long before that, Randall had to inform the residents who packed City Hall that they would not be able to address the council. The time for that, she said, was during the Planning Commission’s public hearing, which had already taken place.

The Neighborhood

The Atkinville Interchange, which will feature a 79,903 square-foot retail/showroom space, has been a hot topic among residents of the SunRiver St. George and Riverstone developments. St. George News spent some time speaking with residents on Sunday.

A screenshot of the area where the Atkinville Interchange will be built, at the corner of Sandpiper Dr. and Nighthawk Dr., in St. George | Courtesy of the City of St. George, St. George News

Among them was Ron Keller, who was walking his golden retriever along Sandpiper Drive. A retired engineer who worked for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Keller said that the commercial development didn’t bother him. He just hopes it will be done right.

“It would make sense for them to route traffic from Pioneer Road,” he told St. George News. “And I would hope that they will put up a sound-proof wall.”

A thin man wearing a baseball cap, reflective sunglasses and rollerblades weaved his way north on Sandpiper Drive. Tom Thomas moved from Aspen, Colorado, to St. George four years ago.

“I’ve known this was coming since I got here,” Thomas told St. George News. “I don’t mind it so much, so I’m in the minority.”

John Vasquez lives on Painted Finch Dr., which is directly across Sandpiper Dr. from the development.

“My concern is, I don’t want commercial delivery trucks driving behind my house at all hours,” Vasquez told St. George News. “But a lot of us would like it if we could get a grocery store in there and some restaurants. That would be beneficial to the whole neighborhood.”

Scene from the corner of Nighthawk Dr. and Pioneer Rd., St. George, Utah, Oct. 10, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

Steve Lindley, president of the SunRiver Community Association, said that he and his constituents have been concerned about the types of businesses that may operate within the development.

“The main thing,” he told St. George News, “is that we don’t want apartments. This is a 55-and-older community. Our residents are concerned with safety and security.”

Lindley said that he didn’t know the hecklers who spoke up at Thursday’s council meeting.

“We’re trying to be good community members,” he said. “We’re trying to work with the council, not against them.”

To that end, Lindley said, he tries to encourage his constituents to voice their concerns in the right place and at the right time.

“That is, during public hearings,” he said.

Lindley added that he appreciated the silver lining in the current plans. Namely, that the building, which is currently slated to be 28 feet tall, will help absorb some of the sound that comes from Interstate 15.

The Mayor and Council

Councilman Vardell Curtis shakes hands with Mayor Michele Randall in St. George, Utah, Feb. 10, 2021 | File photo by David Dudley, St. George News

Randall told St. George News that she and the council were aware of their concerns, and that they are doing their best to address them.

“The developer has agreed to remove all access to the development from Sandpiper,” Randall said. “And the council voted to limit the time deliveries may be made from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.”

Additionally, the current plan includes a 6 foot tall, solid wall on Sandpiper Drive and to the north, where the development abuts the Riverstone neighborhood.

Councilman Vardell Curtis told St. George News that he thought the Planning Commission and the council had addressed all of the concerns expressed by the new development’s neighbors.

“It’s important to pay attention anytime you have that much emotion,” he said. “But they’ll get another chance at having their voices heard,” he said, “when the Planning Commission takes another look at the site plan for the Patio Furniture Store.”

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

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