Draper Dodges a Bullet, Sets an Example

Just up the road from Provo, Draper is moving forward with a plan that is unusual for the region: preserving open space and avoiding construction of new subdivisions.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the city is buying 2,200 acres of land. Though some of that space could eventually be developed, the current plan includes keeping a lot of it open:

Purchase of the land would create a one of a kind 4,000 acre open space property along the Wasatch Front, which is “unprecedented,” according to the city. The master plan for the area would include an expansion of city parks and trails and the already created plan for Corner Canyon Regional Park.

All of this is happening after a lengthy process which at certain times included plans to build thousands of homes on the land.

It’s great that Draper is likely to get more open, park-like space. But it’s even more significant that this plan rejects sprawl. Like many municipalities along the Wasatch Front, Draper is currently a fundamentally suburban, car-oriented city. This approach to land use, however, may be one step toward encouraging less sprawl. It should be a lesson for other cities interested in longterm success.

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2 Comments

Filed under Development

2 responses to “Draper Dodges a Bullet, Sets an Example

  1. Paul

    Draper first annexed this property (including considerable acreage over the county line into Utah County) into the city in the mid-1980’s, always with the intent to let it develop as pods of housing at various densities, separated by large tracts of open space defined primarily by their less-developable steep slopes. Once development entitlements were given, it was a long, difficult process for the city to to back away from these. Apparently this latest decision to purchase much of the property will allow the city to re-think how the land should be used. However, with a reported $5M+ price tag, don’t expect the city to turn it all into permanent open space. If your definition of sprawl means homes built far from shopping, jobs, and transit, then prepare to see more sprawl on the property in the future. One can hope, however, that there will be less sprawl and more quality open space than under former plans for the property.

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