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Teeing Up Another Round Of Mulligan’s Talk

Feb 27, 2015 03:27PM ● Published by James Luke

After hearing resident concerns about “another layer of government,” the South Jordan City Council voted unanimously Feb. 17 to appoint a Mulligan’s review commission. As the council named the seven members of the new commission, they also voted on a proposal to rezone four city-owned parcels around Mulligan’s Golf and Games from agricultural to open space-natural designation.

The future of the 67-acre Mulligan’s property has been a hotly contested issue before the council in recent years. Briefly considered for development, the open area north of 10600 South along the Jordan River was fiercely defended by residents who formed a group called “Save Mulligans.” Both a privately funded survey and a city survey found strong support for preserving the area in open condition.

The Mulligan’s commission consists of two members of the city council selected by the mayor, two city staff chosen by the city manager, the Mulligan’s facility manager and two residents selected from applications open to the public.

At the Feb. 17 meeting, Mayor David Alvord appointed Councilmember Mark Seethaler to chair the Mulligan’s commission, with Councilmember Don Shelton to join the city staff members on the panel selected by City Manager Gary Whatcott: Don Tingey and Dustin Lewis, along with Mulligan’s Facility Manager Doug Brown. Seethaler announced the selection of residents Deanna Kaufman and Max Shura for the two public positions.

The commission has no firm mandate, other than to review and consider the economics of the golf course and other activities currently at the location, as well as other options available to the city in management of the property, and to then report its findings to the city council.  

Some residents at the Jan. 20 council meeting, when the council adopted the resolution that created the Mulligan’s commission, said the review panel might be just more government, leading to more delays in taking some real action to improve the property.

Janalee Tobias, who has been active in the Save Mulligans effort, as well as other battles to preserve open space in the city, observed that the review panel “is another layer of government.” She said that, after two surveys and a lot of talk in favor of keeping Mulligan’s much as it is, more talk “seems pointless. We should start simplifying government.” 

Jennifer Boehne, Jordan Education Association, stated her view at the council session that the composition of the Mulligan’s commission was “a little bit unbalanced” in favor of city employees and city council members. She noted that that the resolution creating the commission calls for a total of five of the seven panel members to work for the city. Only two members on the review panel are South Jordan residents not employed by city government.

James Blair, the developer of Mulligan’s, addressed the council about the future of the property that he helped to create. He told the council at the Jan. 20 meeting, “If the goal is to truly save it, let’s work toward really saving it.” Drawing on his experiences developing and running Mulligan’s, he said, “It’s a little gold mine if it’s run properly.”

At the Feb. 17 session, the council also considered a proposal to rezone two city-owned parcels north of Mulligan’s along the Jordan River and two parcels of land south of 10600 South. 

Regardless of the recommendations that may flow from the new review commission or any other experts or opinions about the best way to use Mulligan’s to benefit the city and residents, the intent of the people of South Jordan is clearly on record in multiple surveys and comments on the issue.

The council seems to be fully embracing the vision of protected open space in the area as well. Councilmember Chuck Newton said the rezone is intended “to protect the area and keep it open.”   
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