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Saratoga Springs Hopes New Housing Development Will Keep Prison Out

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Whittney Evans
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Eagle Mountain residents Shana Clark and Amber Davis holding signs inside the Saratoga Springs City Council meeting.

Saratoga Springs City Council has signed off on a deal that will allow a company to develop a piece of property that is being considered as a possible site for the new state prison.

The city council Tuesday night approved a so-called pre-annexation agreement that will allow Western States Ventures 490-acre parcel to be annexed in to Saratoga Springs city limits. The company wants to build a mixed-used development with up to 2,000 residential units.

Saratoga Springs Mayor Jim Miller says Western States can request to be removed from the Utah Prison Relocation Commission’s list of possible locations, but the state could intervene and pursue eminent domain.  He’s hopeful that won’t happen.  

“I think the legislators up at Capitol Hill will listen to the land owner,” Miller says. Utah is typically a property rights state and if the land owner wishes not to be on there I think they’ll respect that.”

Eagle Mountain resident Colby Curtis says the area is growing too fast to house a new prison.

“When you look at it, that’s the same reason they want to move it out of Draper is because of growth. And yet, why put it back in the same kind of community that you’re trying to take it out of? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

The entire process is expected to be completed in mid-January before the start of the legislative session, when state lawmakers will decide where the new prison will go. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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