June 24, 2013
Salt Lake Tribune
By Lee Davidson
Country clubs are exclusive by design. But critics of the proposed route for the West Davis Corridor say the Oakridge Country Club in Farmington sought special treatment from Utah officials studying whether to take part of one hole on its golf course for the proposed freeway.
Hal Hintze, club attorney, sent an email seeking a meeting with Utah Department of Transportation officials to express concerns over one of the route options for the highway. “I realize the public input time has expired, but the country club should not be relegated to the general status of an interested member of the general ‘public,’ ” he wrote.
He added that the club considered itself the “chief landowner affected” by the Shepard Lane alternative, which also would demolish numerous homes and businesses. But he said the club could be hurt more than others because losing part of the hole could downgrade and ruin the entire course.
Documents obtained through an open-records law request show the club fought hard, and successfully, to keep the freeway away. Among its tactics were signaling it might sue, seeing a legislator raise concerns with UDOT and even contending effects of that lost golf hole should make UDOT count all 381 club equity members as potentially “displaced persons” in an environmental impact statement (EIS).
“It does seem like they were seeking special consideration, and it does seem like they may have gotten it,” said Lori Kalt, president of the Save Farmington community group opposing the current preferred route — which avoids the golf course — contending it will ruin her Glover Lane neighborhood instead.
“No, we weren’t seeking special treatment,” said Mark Jensen, general manager of the country club. “We’re like anybody else. We were just trying to protect our land.”
UDOT echoes that.
“They were given consideration, but they were not given special consideration,” said Randy Jefferies, project manager for UDOT.