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Sandy Journal

Sandy City Planning for Rapid Growth

Aug 29, 2017 04:24PM ● By Jana Klopsch

The Cairns development strives for ideal street design and transportation modes. (Sandy City)

By James DeGooyer | [email protected]

Sandy City is Utah’s fifth largest city with a population of nearly 94,000 residents. That number is expected to increase to at least 110,000 people in the next 30 years. Likewise, the population of Utah is expected to nearly double in that time. Today, there are about 3 million people living in Utah. By 2050, there will be 5.4 million residents in the state. 

It is difficult to envision such dramatic growth and the myriad challenges it entails. 

The Sandy City Council addressed such issues as housing, transportation, education, water and recreation for Sandy residents during their July 25 meeting at City Hall. Ryan Beck, a senior planner with Envision Utah, made a formal presentation to the city council as part of a regular report to city officials.

Beck outlined the vision and strategy of Envision Utah and how city centers like Sandy can continue to manage population growth and infrastructure while preserving quality of life with open space, clean air, water and recreation access.

“The growth principles developed by Envision Utah only work if they are successfully implemented at the local level, with city elected officials being vitally important to the success or failure of growth management,” said Nicole Martin, deputy mayor of Sandy. 

Beck made similar presentations to other nearby cities, including Murray, Midvale and South Salt Lake during August. 

According to its website, Envision Utah, headquartered in downtown Salt Lake City, is a non-profit organization that engages people to create and sustain communities that are beautiful, prosperous, healthy and neighborly for current and future residents.

As a neutral facilitator, Envision Utah brings together residents, elected officials, developers, conservationists, business leaders and other interested parties to make informed decisions about how communities should grow.

“Utah is expected to nearly double its population by 2050. Knowing this, Mayor (Tom) Dolan partnered with Envision Utah when it was formed in 1997 to ensure this growth could be managed and quality of life preserved, while achieving four goals,” said Martin.

The four objectives include: preserve critical lands; promote water conservation and clean air; improve region-wide transportation systems and provide housing for all residents.

Sandy city officials are already working on several projects to help ensure the objectives are met. For example, new housing construction is underway in several sectors of Sandy, in particular as part of The Cairns city-center development which is a 1,100-acre project that includes housing, transportation, shopping and entertainment. 

“Our Cairns City Center is designed to be a strong economic driver to keep taxes low while providing a vibrancy to our city, and becoming a unique live, work, shop and play experience for all of our residents within a few convenient minutes of their homes,” said Dolan.

The Cairns master plan was formally adopted by the city council as an ordinance on Jan. 17, 2017. 

The project area is located between 9000 South and 10600 South and between Interstate-15 and the UTA light rail to the east. When fully developed, The Cairns could provide up to 2,000 total housing units in a combination of single-family homes, apartments, and high-density units. 

The Cairns development plan is a 25-year plan, so the housing and transportation elements will be implemented over a decade or more. There are about 800 residential units completed or nearly completed already. Residents can view The Cairns plan online at:

The Cairns development already has an extensive range of amenities including:

• The Shops at South Towne; a 950,000 square-foot regional mall.

• Jordan Commons; a lifestyle center with popular movie theaters and dining options.

• The South Towne Expo Center; a 450,000 square-foot convention facility.

• Rio Tinto Stadium; home of Real Salt Lake professional soccer team.

• Hale Centre Theatre; a new theater with two stages totaling 1,350 seats.

• Two TRAX light rail stations linking to downtown Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake International Airport.

• Connection to FrontRunner.

More information about Envision Utah can be found at: