COALVILLE — A new development planned in the small Summit County town of Coalville drew worries from current residents, who fear 700 homes and two golf courses from the project will impact the area’s water quality and culture.
Resident Lynn Wood organized the group Coalville For Responsible Growth, saying she and others want to keep the town’s old brick buildings, the slower pace of life and friendly atmosphere.
“Oh, it’s just that sense of history. I love it,” Wood said. “Just that old fashioned pride in a community.”
Wood and the group are hoping to fight back against the planned Wohali Development, which if approved, would add roughly 700 high-end homes to the small city.
“This is one unique little town and we want it to stay that way,” Wood said. “We don’t want to lose that.”
Even more worries popped up over the town’s water quality and usage.
“This is a community based on farming and ranching. Water is the lifeblood and so that’s the top concern of everyone,” Wood said.
Beyond the 700 homes, the Wohali Development would also include two golf courses, which Wood said would use a lot of water.
It would also come with the kind of million-dollar homes — many of which are expected to be second homes — that isn’t what Wood feels Coalville wants or needs.
“It’s just a really stark contrast to our culture that we have here,” she said.
Coalville City Council members are expected to vote Monday evening on a preliminary approval for the Wohali Development to go forward.
“We’re usually pretty full, but this time I think it’s going to be people lined up out into the street,” said Coalville city attorney Sheldon Smith. “Everyone will want to voice their opinion on this.”
Coalville City leaders have been talking about this piece of property on the west side of Interstate 80 for about a year now.
They also understand why it has become such a controversial topic.
“People want growth that will allow their kids to stay here and have a place to live and that’s probably not going to happen up there because it’s going to be too high-end,” Smith said. “They’re also worried about the water, the sewer, the schools — everything.”
Smith admitted this is a big project that could double the size of Coalville.
“Could it affect Coalville? Yeah. Definitely. In a positive way? Yeah. It could,” Smith said. “There are some nice things that could come out of it and there’s probably some negative things that will come with it just like anything else.”
The question Coalville City Council members will need to answer is while looking at the positives and the negatives, is this development worth it?
“I can’t answer that,” Smith said. “That’s something the city council will need to answer. It’s a tough position. We’d like to have some growth, but, yeah, it’s a double-edged sword.”
Wood is just hoping residents come to the 6 p.m. council meeting on Monday to voice their concerns and not give up.
“They don’t feel like they’ve been listened to by the government. That it won’t make any difference,” Wood said. “So, we’re hoping to get people to know that their opinion matters.”