Tom and Sherrie Jackson, who live off 4000 West and 4100 South, like their pleasant new neighborhood.
It's convenient to shopping, too, with a large Smith's store about one mile to the south and a Harmon's located one mile north.But the Jacksons and about 40 of their neighbors aren't happy about a developer's plan to build a Macey's grocery store on their corner. A supermarket will cause more traffic on already burdened streets, residents say, along with more noise.
"The main issue is to keep it zoned residential," Tom Jackson said. "The second goal is to just eliminate the Macey's idea completely."
Developer Bill Perry, who built the Solomon Farms subdivision where residents are now protesting, downplays the strength of the protest.
"The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of people in the area who are in favor of what we are doing," said Perry, owner of Perry Homes. He says some neighborhood residents are manipulating the media.
Perry has been working to develop that corner parcel for five years. He once considered building apartments there, and said the parcel is just unsuited for single-family homes. "It's commercial by street design, not by developer desire.
"I wouldn't try to build houses on it. I think people would resist the purchase of homes on 4100 South."
As more of the valley's vacant land is transformed into apartment buildings, office complexes and residential neighborhoods, suburban government officials are hearing more emotional protests about development. Issues of growth versus protecting neighborhoods sprout with increasing regularity.
And in West Valley City, a community of nearly 100,000 without a web of neighborhood organizations, where voter turnout is traditionally dismally low, the latest sparks of neighborhood emotion provide rare feedback for the bureaucrats at City Hall.
Some residents in the Solomon Farms subdivision are afraid that their property values will fall if they live behind a busy, super-sized shopping center. Several even staked "For Sale" signs in their front yards when the neighborhood staged protests for the media.
"Not one person in this neighborhood is for it," said Jennifer Francis, who lives at 4200 W. 3980 South, and was one of the first to move into the new neighborhood three years ago. "No argument can talk us into it. We're being treated like, `Hey, it was zoned commercial and there is nothing you can do about it.' "
Francis said that when she and her husband bought their home, they were told that a small commercial center, like a strip mall, would be built on the corner.
"We have traffic zooming through here," Francis said. "It just scares me and this is not what I wanted. I have a pit in my stomach. And I want to deck somebody for lying to me."
According to Barbara Thomas, chairwoman of the city's Planning and Zoning Commission, the property is now zoned for residential use, but the city's master plan calls for it to be a neighborhood commercial area. On Thursday, the commission will consider Perry's petition for a zoning change that would allow the construction of a 64,000-square foot Macey's grocery store. The zoning change requests that the store be built as a conditional use because the proposal is larger than the city permits in that zone.
"I think it's really the planning of the development that is the real issue," Thomas said.
The neighborhood group thinks it's got the strength of the city's planning ordinances on its side.
"We've checked the West Valley master plan, and it's clear as day that supermarkets don't go into C-1 (neighborhood commercial) zones," Jackson said. The zoning is designed to permit stores that would cater to neighborhood residents and not draw shoppers from across town.