Southwest Quadrant Mayors Council selects $250K visioning study partner
Jul 26, 2019 11:45AM
By Jennifer J Johnson
The Southwest Quadrant Mayors Council has been meeting routinely since the start of the 2019 Legislative session. Pictured left to right: Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs, Herriman Mayor Pro Tempore Jared Henderson, Copperton Metro Township Mayor Sean Clayton, South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey, West Jordan Mayor Jim Riding, and Bluffdale Mayor Derk Timothy. (Casey Saxton/Riverton City)
By Jennifer J. Johnson | [email protected]
More than 40 elected officials and staff members from the six municipalities comprising the Southwest Quadrant have selected a firm to lead a $250,000 “Shared Vision and Growth Study” for the area.
Intermountain West, Pacific Northwest firm Logan Simpson chosen to lead project
Logan Simpson competed against three other firms to win the project. Elected officials from the municipalities, along with planning and other members of their staffs, awarded the contract based on two metrics: approach and resources.
The awarded contract aims to advance a shared growth strategy to proactively guide long-term development.
The “Shared Vision and Growth Strategy” will address land use, economic development and transportation infrastructure changes across participating communities and collectively target “a high quality of life,” with a 2050 outlook, the precise timeframe by which the state is set to double its population.
Leadership from municipalities and the county have repeatedly emphasized that participation from all relevant organizations, land owners, and residents will be assured through the work Logan Simpson will guide.
Logan Simpson is a nearly 30-year-old regional firm with more than $15 million in annual revenues. With offices in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, and Utah (downtown Salt Lake City), the firm lists “community planning” as its third core service, after environmental services and cultural resources. The firm also offers landscape architecture.
Locally, the firm was responsible for guiding the Wasatch Canyons regional and community plan.
In the Intermountain West, Logan Simpson has consulted for the city of Jackson, Wyoming for its general plan development, and was even contracted by a city across the country, Winter Park, Florida, to “develop a vision plan that sets the stage for the future comprehensive plans and implementation actions.”
The firm, which used to brand itself “LSD” (short for Logan Simpson Design), has been awarded the 12-18 month, quarter-million-dollar contract, with what West Jordan Mayor Jim Riding called “the lion’s share” being funded by Salt Lake County and Wasatch Front Regional Council, and with each of the municipal communities in the SWQ areas contributing a nominal amount.
SWQ and Oquirrh View
The project was requested by the new, unofficial entity known as the Southwest Quadrant Mayors Council.
The SWQ Mayors jointly comprises leadership representing 300,000 residents across 100 square miles, distributed amongst the communities of Bluffdale, Copperton, Herriman, Riverton, South Jordan, and West Jordan.
What began as a joint-mayoral effort to thwart the first proposed Olympia Hills development during summer 2018, proved to develop increasing synergy, with the mayoral affiliation meeting regularly during the legislative session and then continuing to meet monthly or even weekly.
The result is what South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey deemed “unprecedented coordination” of communities in Utah to ensure the best-possible planning for a county running out of developable land.
“It’s difficult but essential for cities and the county to come together and discuss the issues,” said Jake Young, program planning manager for Salt Lake County’s Regional Planning and Development. Young and Wilf Sommerkorn, director of regional planning and transportation for the county, had a recent sit-down meeting with the City Journals.
Sommerkorn and Young call the SWQ Mayors’ planning project a “micro-regional” or “sub-regional” plan, as opposed to foundational regional planning work the county has done on the broader Oquirrh View area.
In late April, Sommerkorn’s office released interim findings of a two-year, $200,000 “Oquirrh View: The Future of the West Bench” study to kick off the county’s “Regional Growth Summit 2.0.”
The study took a look at 32,000 acres of undeveloped land in SWQ, with 6,000 acres being in unincorporated Salt Lake County and the remainder associated with municipalities comprising the SWQ Mayors Council’s jurisdiction. The geography ranged from west of Bangerter Freeway to the top of the Oquirrh Mountains and Great Salt Lake south to the Utah County line.
Next steps—and the question of timing
Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson disclosed the selection of Logan Simpson in an interview with the City Journals on July 25.
The selection of the firm was confirmed by an urban planner close to the process who did not wish to be identified. That individual described Logan Simpson as an “unremarkable, yet highly reputable firm with solid outreach strategies and a good eye for implementation.”
Wasatch Front Regional Council, the entity managing the visioning process, starting with the selection of Logan Simpson, has declined repeated requests for the name of the selected vendor. Members of the Southwest Mayors Council have indicated their intention to schedule an event to introduce the new planning partner and announce a strategic plan for community engagement on the SWQ area.
In April Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs expressed to City Journals a concern about the speed of the visioning process for the area, indicating that Wilson was seeking to speed a timeline which he felt needed more time to simmer.
The proposed timeline for the visioning study is 12-18 months. However, as has been reported by City Journals, WFRC has been wrangling the logistics of tallying consultant-selection inputs from the six participating SWQ municipalities and then finalizing contract details for two months, indicating the timeline could be longer.
Sommerkorn’s work, including significant public input, is credited as informing the next-phase to be conducted by Logan Simpson on behalf of the municipal and county constituents. The director disagreed that Salt Lake County has attempted to inappropriately speed the process.
“We have put no pressure on timing,” agreed colleague Young. However, he added, “The project needs to have an endpoint. ‘Forever ongoing’ does not work.”
The same planner who confirmed the consultant selection noted political consideration should be evaluated with any critique of timing.
Salt Lake County is still encouraging participating in the 3-5 minute Oquirrh View study. Residents can access the survey at oquirrhview.org.