Soil and water

St. George City Council approves zone change and hillside development permit for hotel on Blackridge Drive – St George News


ST. GEORGE – At first glance, the land at the northwest corner of Blackridge Drive and 250 West in St. George doesn’t look like much. The red floor is strewn with boulders and abandoned sofas, recliners and an oven, among other trash.

The land at the northwest corner of Blackridge Drive and 250 West, St. George, Utah, November 19, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

It also happens to be in a landslide area. Reports to city officials indicate that “movement and uplift” is a concern “due to soil and bedrock expansion”.

But the applicant for a zoning change request for the site, Oscar Covarrubias of Black Ridge Development LLC, sees it as the future site of a five-story, 146-room hotel, complete with amenities like a swimming pool, a bathroom. sports and a miniature golf course, among others.

St. George’s City Council voted unanimously to approve the hillside development, as well as a zone change for the 17-acre property at its regular meeting on November 18. Prior to approval, the conversation centered on the water that can build up on the property and how it can affect the structures and roads built on the site.

City Councilor Gregg McArthur also disclosed a conflict of interest as he was a real estate agent involved in the sale of the property. Although he said he was concerned about the hillside part of the property, he remained optimistic.

“It’s very cut out,” McArthur said at the meeting. “It’s a messy property. I think the property would benefit from the project.

Councilor Dannielle Larkin asked if “the property should be waterproof”. As the ground becomes more and more saturated, according to reports, the potential for landslides increases. The Hillside Review Board, along with the Planning Commission, suggested that the area be landscaped with desert plants, which would require minimal watering.

Wayne Rogers, senior engineer at Applied Geotech, told the meeting that because the soil is clayey, it sucks up water.

“This is what we want to avoid,” he said. “It’s the same problem we had at the airport, with the track.

“If we keep the water flowing off the site,” he continued, “our risk decreases dramatically.”

Regarding the pool, the applicants said there would be a liner around it so that potential leaks would be drained and moved off the property. The applicants said they would also use a system that would monitor water use. An alarm would sound if the water levels reached unsafe levels.

Larkin wondered if, in the end, the benefits are worth the risks of the project, but McArthur said given the hotel’s price tag, he thought the developers would be cautious.

“This hotel must cost between $ 40 million and $ 50 million,” he said. “I think they would be very worried… and would do anything to protect their interests. They have every interest in doing so.

St. George News has contacted Covarrubias for further comment, but has not had a response at the time of this article’s publication.

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