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Major Kanab developers say they’re considering affordable housing

Photo of a sign announcing Kanab, UT.
Lexi Peery
/
KUER
Developers have big plans for just over 100 acres near the south end of Kanab. They include vacation rentals, single family homes and a hotel.

Development plans are going forward for 101 acres of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands in southern Utah, and some Kanab residents are concerned about how it will impact the already tight housing market.

The developers’ proposal to SITLA for what they’re calling Mineral Village includes a 128-key hotel, 200 vacation rentals and 139 single family homes — the average price being $650,000. It’s located at the south end of the city near Jackson Flat Reservoir. This proposal beat out controversial plans for an 18-hole golf course from a former lawmaker earlier this year.

“Houses here now are $650,000 to $850,000,” said Kanab resident J Sharp, who’s struggled with finding a place to live. “The only people that can afford that are people [who] live in states like California that sell their house, retire and move here.”

Devin Anderson, a partner at Mountain West Development, said including affordable housing units wasn’t part of their original plan, but they’re considering the needs of the town.

“We'd love to bring something to the community that’s well-rounded,” he said in early March. “If there is a shortage of affordable housing, that's going to be important to us too, because we'll be employing 100 people … We just thought, well, why not do something like that as well on the project?”

Steve Laski, the other partner with the development, said that the actual number of homes and vacation rentals may change depending on what the market really wants. Right now, he said they’re trying to find the right mix of various units.

“We have an agreement with SITLA that has financial obligations that will have to be met,” Laski said last month, “and if you supply a little less here, you got to supply a little more there and to make all that work.”

The developers emphasized that this is a 15-year development and construction is meant to follow the growth of Kanab in the coming years.

The proposal is expected to generate $15.7 million for the state. SITLA is mandated to maximize revenues for beneficiaries, which for this project is the Miner’s Hospital.

Marla Kennedy, a spokesperson for SITLA, said the agency “assumes inflexibility throughout the process.” But she said that can change, though they’ll need buy-in from cities, elected leaders and developers.

“We can't do it alone,” she said. “Affordable housing doesn't come in a vacuum. It needs multiple partners, and SITLA is willing to be one of those partners.”

Mountain West Development and SITLA are waiting for final execution of the documents, Kennedy said. Next, plans will go before the Kanab City Council for approval.

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Lexi is KUER's Southwest Bureau reporter
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