Garden City lifts building moratorium

THE HERALD JOURNAL – Last week, the Garden City Town Council approved its new General Plan, three building ordinances, and lifted the rest of the moratorium that limited new development in recent months. After months of heated debate and discussion on the issues, Thursday’s meeting was short and quiet.

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Don’t deface Spiral Jetty’s ‘canvas’

DESERET MORNING NEWS EDITORIAL – As with many Utah poets, actors and painters, the reputation of artist Robert Smithson and his “earthwork” Spiral Jetty in the Great Salt Lake is better known outside of Utah. Constructed in 1970, the 1,500 foot coil of rocks draws visitors from the international art world.

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Vision Dixie implementation board announces introductory meetings

THE SPECTRUM -ST. GEORGE – The Vision Dixie implementation committee will introduce the Vision Dixie principles to the cities of Hurricane, LaVerkin and Toquerville at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Hurricane City Council chambers, 147 N. 870 West.

At the informal work meeting, the committee hopes to initiate a dialogue with and among the cities to determine their interest in incorporating the Vision Dixie principles and how the implementation committee can best serve as a resource to each city going forward, according to a press release.

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Skybridge is Causing a Divide

UTAHSTORIES.COM – The City City Creek Center is touted as the means to revitalize Main Street in Salt Lake City. However, there are many critics of the assertion that a skybridge is a ” critical to the success of the project. ”

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City Creek Center Sky Bridge

(image courtesy of

Project downtown provo: Community discusses revitalization plan

DALIY HERALD – A stew of frustration, anger, hope and goodwill spilled over in Provo on Saturday morning at a public meeting about whether Provo’s downtown can be revitalized and how.

So many people turned out for what organizers had expected to be a smaller, quieter meeting that extra chairs had to be brought in, refreshments ran out and the meeting ran over time, to the delight of organizers hired by the city. The meeting was held in a room at the Provo Library.

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MARIO RUIZ/Daily Herald

Planning commissions should represent the entire community

TOOELE TRANSCRIPT EDITORIAL – News that the Grantsville Planning Commission, which is dominated by members connected to the development and building industries, is now to be headed by a real estate broker is cause for alarm. Planning commissions are charged with shaping the future growth of a town in accordance with its master plan and in consideration for the wishes of all the town’s residents. These bodies should be made up of impartial, objective members, not industry insiders who could potentially benefit from decisions the commission makes.

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Op-Ed rebuttal by Gary Fawson, Grantsville City Planning Commissioner

Oil Drilling Threatens Smithson’s Spiral Jetty

By Tony Illia

ARCHITECTURAL RECORD – A proposal to drill for oil in Utah’s Great Salt Lake could threaten artist Robert Smithson’s monumental 1970 earthwork “Spiral Jetty.” The Canadian firm Pearl Montana Exploration and Production holds three leases, dating to 2003, to drill exploratory boreholes near the iconic sculpture. A public comment period ends tomorrow as state officials evaluate the company’s permit requests.

Robert Smithson's 1970 Spiral Jetty

Photo © Gianfranco Gorgoni/Collection Dia Art Foundation

Robert Smithson’s 1970 Spiral Jetty, a long-term installation in Rozel Point, Box Elder County, Utah.

Pearl submitted a state application on January 11 to drill two wells from floating barges anchored to the lakebed. The move caught artists and conservationists off guard. The 1,500-foot-long mud, salt crystal, and rock Spiral Jetty was supposedly safeguarded under a 19-month-old settlement. In May 2006, preservation groups including Western Resource Advocates, the Sierra Club’s Utah chapter, Friends of Great Salt Lake, and Great Salt Lake Audubon reached an agreement with the state that pulled back oil and gas leases in the northwest arm of the lake. The pact covered 116,000 acres, but left out 55,000 acres; the lake’s Little Valley Harbor, five miles southwest of the Spiral Jetty, falls within the exempted acreage.

Smithson’s 15-foot-wide counterclockwise curlicue is located at the remote Rozel Point in Box Elder County. It was built using heavy machinery and 6,650 tons of basalt and earth. Although rising lake water levels submerged the sculpture during the 1980s, it reemerged following a drought in 1999. That same year the New York-based Dia Art Foundation acquired Spiral Jetty as a gift from the late artist’s estate. Considered to be Smithson’s masterpiece, the sculpture embodies his exploration of entropy—a theme shared by James Wines and other deconstructionist architects during the 1970s—and has been known to generations of architecture and art history students mostly through photographs and a film produced by the artist himself.

“The expansive natural setting is integral to Smithson’s artwork, providing an essential frame for experiencing the Spiral Jetty,” Jeffrey Weiss, foundation director, said in a statement. “Any incursion on the open landscape, including the proposed drilling, would significantly compromise this important work of art.”

Yet drilling, if it’s approved, could begin this year. The state must honor mineral rights, although it still determines drilling terms and conditions. “If there’s a problem, we won’t sign until the problem is solved,” says Brad Hill, permit manager for the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining. The state normally processes permit requests in a couple of weeks but officials extended the public comment period to February 13 following a massive public outcry.

Groups that oppose drilling near the Spiral Jetty include the artist’s widow, Nancy Holt, as well as the Dia Art Foundation, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Friends of the Great Salt Lake, among others. A revision in Utah’s Great Salt Lake Mineral Leasing Plan of 1996 is expected to play a key role in the permitting decision. The state agreed to pull back leases in 2006 because the plan is outdated.

Oil companies explored the area both before and after Smithson finished his earthwork in 1970. During the 1920s, a drilling company built an offshore rig on a pier near Rozel Point. Amoco drilled in the same spot five decades later, but abandoned the leases when oil prices dropped.

Will Pleasant Grove rezone hurt downtown?

DESERET MORNING NEWS – PLEASANT GROVE — A home that Brigham Young once slept in, a 19th-century drugstore and an old carriage house can all be found in Pleasant Grove.The city harbors numerous historic homes and businesses downtown, and residents are worried that action by the Planning Commission and City Council will get rid of the historic part of downtown.

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A toast to historic S.L. Victorian

DESERET MORNING NEWS – A toast is appropriate, Genevieve Atwood says, hoisting an imaginary glass and serving up a slogan from her family history.”Sparkle brewed to the altitude — Fisher Beer. Let’s drink to Ralph Becker,” she said.

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Artspace– no longer for artists?

UTAHSTORIES.COM – Artspace began as a group of studios established in abandoned warehouses, for artists, beautified by artists. The success of the idea built up a corporate non-profit empire. Now Artspace is abandoning their original property. Have they lost touch with their mission?

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artspace studios on Pierpont Avenue

(courtesy of