The following from Herald Journal staff writer Kevin Opsahl appeared in the Herald Journal in print and online on April 10, 2018.
Providence tables ‘Chugg Farms’ annexation issue
By Kevin Opsahl, staff writer
Apr 10, 2018
PROVIDENCE ― The City Council on Tuesday night put off voting on a controversial annexation of unincorporated land so issues between the city and the developer can be worked out.
Mayor John Drew told attendees of the City Council meeting that the decision came at the request of city staff and the developer, Jeff Jackson.
“City staff has come up with a question of the developer that needs to be resolved,” he said. “It may result in the annexation agreement being amended. The developer also wants to come to the city and has some questions, wants to have a discussion.”
Drew said those discussions were scheduled to occur April 24, the date of the next council meeting.
Though Tuesday did not see a vote, residents still weighed in at a public hearing.
They sparred over whether the parcel of land, located in the area of 517 N. 300 East and known as the “Chugg Farms,” should be annexed so Jackson, on behalf of Ridgeview Park LLC, could build homes there.
Jackson’s efforts to have Providence approve an annexation agreement are actually the second time his company has come forward with the expressed intention to build. He had gone before the River Heights City Council last year but later withdrew his annexation petition.
The annexation of Chugg Farms revived itself when Jackson filed a land use application in January of this year.
At the Providence City Council meeting Tuesday, Brian Craig was one of several residents who spoke out against the annexation.
“I grew up in Los Angeles County, and it’s just a big urban jungle,” he told the council. “I don’t want that for Providence.”
Jana Hawkes, of Providence, gave the council some advice based on previous rural cities she has lived in that allowed unscrupulous developers to build.
“The City Council, the mayor opened Pandora’s box, and they could never close it,” she said. “Every time the developer came in … they had to allow him because they allowed the last guy to build multiple units. I’m begging you: Do your homework … see what has gone on with the multiple units on pieces of property.”
She continued, “The developer has a right to develop the land, but you as our representatives … you can control what they put on there.”
Kevin Jensen, who has lived in Providence for more than 25 years, expressed similar thoughts. He supports annexation as long as the council develops a list of pros and cons of a development.
“Sometimes, if all of that has been done … it stands in the economic interests of the city to do something that may not be popular with the citizens,” he said. “But I think if you can lay it out and we can put all the rumors to bed that are out there … then I think we can move forward.”
Craig Winder, of Visionary Homes and Ridgeview Park LLC, attended the meeting but did not offer any comment during the public hearing.