By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor
The Northwest Quadrant is again the center of attention, following a transfer in ownership from the Church of the Latter-Day Saints to Kennecott Utah Cooper. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the 3,100 acres of land west of Salt Lake City International Airport were traded by the church’s Property Reserve Inc. for an unspecified number of acres in southwestern Salt Lake County and some “cash considerations.”
The deal had been negotiated for two years. Upon completion, spokesman Kyle Bennett of Kennecott declared that there were no current development plans for the land. Past discussions brought to the surface the controversial Northwest Quadrant Master Plan, which envisioned a mini-city between the airport and the Oquirrh Mountains. The master plan, which included housing for 70,000 to 100,000 people, drew opposition from some city council members and the environmental community.
Mayor Ralph Becker has been responsive to studies that have shown the possible environmental impact a city would have on the wildlife (the acreage being a migratory bird haven) as well as other elements, such as air quality. He said Salt Lake City will continue to mitigate future development of the land in the Northwest Quadrant to be in tune with the shared values and goals of the residents.
Environmental leaders are hoping that in future they will see solar fields rather than houses. That is a possibility, given that Kennecott, the operator of one of the largest open-pit copper mines in the world, is a huge user of electricity.