PLEASANT VIEW — Wadman Nature Park, as Julie Farr sees it, is a peaceful oasis for people seeking a piece of nature within the confines of Pleasant View.
“They come to places like this to destress,” she said, calling the wild, nine-acre facility a “meditative park.”
But plans to build as many as 34 homes on the 27.7-acre parcel just to the west, now undeveloped farmland, have her and others concerned. Farr worries the development, if it proceeds, will threaten the untamed, secluded nature of the land.
What’s the purpose of a nature park, she wonders, if it’s cut off by a new subdivision from animals and wildlife “and if we pack the surrounding area in such a way that noise pollution spoils its meditative environment?”
Deers, pheasant and turkeys now traverse the land, open to the west but hemmed in by homes to the north, east and south.
Whatever the case, a proposed rezone of the land, needed before the plans can proceed, received a favorable 5-2 recommendation on June 6 from the Pleasant View Planning Commission. The rezone request now goes to the Pleasant View City Council, which has final say.
And the real estate agent helping market the land, Don Mendenhall, said the higher-end development — with homes valued $600,000 or more sitting on lots of about a half an acre — would blend with other homes in the area. It’d become “a staple of Pleasant View,” Mendenhall said. Wadman Nature Park, meanwhile, is “not going anywhere. Pleasant View likes it.”
Either way, the plans have prompted more backlash than is the norm with such proposals in Pleasant View, said Bill Cobabe, the city administrator. The divide also underscores, once again, the contrary sentiments spurred by Weber County’s continuing expansion and growth.
The City Council is scheduled to take up the matter at its regular meeting on July 9 and Farr and other project critics, who gathered around 100 signatures on a petition against the rezone, are calling on the foes to attend, to speak out. Mendenhall, for his part, says he’s tried to work with neighbors, including the critics, to ease their worries.
“We know their concerns and we understand them and we want to communicate with them,” he said. The land is “one of the best spots up there in Pleasant View,” he said, and any development would be focus of continued scrutiny and fine-tuning to address the varied concerns.
‘RAW GREEN FARMLAND’
The 27.7 acres that would become the new development — high on the bench where 4300 North, or Skyline Drive, meets 500 West — is owned by the Robert and Ruth Christofferson Family Trust, according to online property records. Mendenhall and another real estate agent are assisting the elderly owners in marketing the property and it’s listed on UtahRealEstate.com for $2.49 million, about $90,000 an acre.
“Surrounded by mountain, lake and valley views, this scenic parcel of land will be the place everyone will want to live,” reads the listing. The land “really is one of the few properties left in Pleasant View that offers so much.”
Cobabe called the terrain “just raw green farmland that’s not been developed into anything.”
Catherine Graham lives adjacent to the land on a 15.6-acre parcel and, like Farr, has her concerns. She worries about increased car traffic brought by 34 new homes, as proposed, and she worries the development will alter the country vibe of the area, where deer, occasional mountain lions and other critters are spotted.
Though the homes would sit on half-acre lots, “it will feel like high density compared to what it is now,” Graham said. She has cattle on her land, she said, and she worries if the plans move ahead, new residents seeking a suburban vibe will complain about her animals.
Like Farr, Graham also worries how new homes would impact water flow in the steep area and in Wadman Nature Park, deemed an “emergent wetland.” Farr’s preference would be to leave the A-5 zoning designation in place, which would allow homes on five-acre parcels, or around five in all on the 27.7-acre parcel.
Mendenhall, for his part, said the landowners’ property rights come in to play.
The issue is now in the hands of council members. At any rate, Cobabe said development plans, if the rezone is permitted, would face even closer scrutiny and city officials would push for adjustments to temper any possible adverse impacts.
“Right now, the question is, is this the right time to do it and is this the right place for this zone?” Cobabe said.