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Salt Lake County Mayor Vetoes Council's Vote for Supersize Herriman Housing Plans

Whittney Evans/KUER

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams vetoed on Friday the County Council’s recent vote to approve a controversial housing development in the southwest corner of the valley.

McAdams' veto came the day after he held a town hall to hear from residents who oppose the planned Olympia Hills housing development. The project includes about 9,000 residential units just outside of Herriman. McAdams said the overwhelming message he got from residents was that the development, which would cover close to 1,000 acres of land, is too dense and existing infrastructure like roads, water and sewer won’t support it.  

“While I’d hoped that we’d have time to make changes to the existing proposal that would address the issues that were raised, discussions with local elected officials haven’t moved far enough to make it acceptable,” McAdams said.

Both the County Council and mayor supported the project — or at least didn’t outwardly oppose it — until residents and local government officials protested. More than 13,000 people signed an online petition to block the development. Calls for comment to the Olympia Hills developer were not returned.

Council Chair Aimee Winder Newton said the council intended to rescind or amend the vote after hearing concerns from residents.

“So our councilmembers are listening to the public,” she said. “They’ve been able to get some great information, so whether he vetoes or not is kind of more procedural. We still as a council have an opportunity to decide what we want to do moving forward.”

The battle over this development comes as the state faces a housing shortage combined with unprecedented growth. Utah’s population is expected to double by 2050.

The council has 15 days to override the veto, but Newton says an override doesn’t make sense, because it would effectively take the council back to a vote that made no one happy.

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