George Shaw, AICP

The Cairns Plan is the current Master Plan (2017) for Downtown Sandy, referred to previously as the Civic Center and South Town Plans. The area is bordered by 9000 South on the north, the Trax line on the east, 10600 South on the south and I-15 on the west, comprising approximately 1000 acres. The vision of the plan is to create a mixed use City Center in Sandy. Sandy City was one of the first communities in the state to adopt a mixed use zoning classification. Over the years mixed use development has become an integral part of the City’s plan implementation.


Recently a tour was given of Sandy's City Center by James Sorensen (Community Development Director) and Nick Duerksen (Economic Development and RDA Director). Tour participants rode a City van to view and discuss first-hand the various mixed use developments within the City Center, including housing, the new Hale Center Theater, re-structuring of the South Town Mall, transit oriented development, Jordan Commons entertainment center and the Expo Center, major office development, hotels, restaurants, open space, pedestrian circulation, and Rio Tinto Stadium. The latter is now the focus of a new Area Master Plan to re-think the development possibilities in proximity to the stadium.


Three major takeaways from the Tour:

  • 1) Suburban communities can re-invent themselves into vibrant and walkable mixed use centers (in Sandy’s case, there never was a typical Main St. or city center, so the downtown was created from the ground up).
  • 2) The Sandy RDA has been aggressively purchasing area properties. With Sandy being a hot real estate market, the RDA has been able to successfully market properties to prospective developers, leveraging mix use development standards as part of contractual sales agreements.
  • 3) Master Plans having a vision with implementation strategies supported by the community are key to creating exciting places where people want to be and interact with one another.

About the Author: George G. Shaw, AICP, is a semi-retired planning consultant living in Saratoga Springs, UT. He previously worked for the cities of South Jordan, Salt Lake City, Sandy City, and Orem, all but the last in management positions. He has championed the principles espoused by CNU before ‘walkable communities’ and a ‘sense of place’ became popular terms. He has also taught these principles to public officials in the work place and as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Utah. He believes that educating the public and working with professionals from a variety of fields, is key to moving the principles of New Urbanism forward. With a better future vision, Utah communities can become so much more---livable places that can enhance the lives of all our citizens.

Tyler Smithson, PLA, ASLA

In the late afternoon heat of a mid-July afternoon, Greg Montgomery smiles as he cranks up the 14-passenger van that will take a group of New Urbanism enthusiasts to four unique neighborhoods that he has been working on in the past two decades. Greg has been contemplating the question of “What to do with the 10-acre block” over the good portion of his career at the Ogden City Community Development Department. Like many cities in Utah, Ogden was founded upon the principles of the Plat of Zion that organizes the city into an orthogonal grid that has ample right of ways and long blocks. 

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Diego Carroll, PE, MBA

Parking has a significant impact on the intensity, pattern, and profitability of development. Better parking policies and applications are essential to developing communities that are vibrant and truly walkable. As communities attempt to catalyze densities critical to vibrant urban centers, it is helpful to understand the implications parking policies have on future development and redevelopment. 

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Michael Hathorne, CNUa

In the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” aside from learning that breaking and entering is still a crime, even when it’s a home inhabited by a bear family with human-like characteristics, there is an even more important principle that we can learn. I like to refer to it as the “Baby Bear metric.” The porridge, chair and bed of the Bear family’s mother and father are too hot, too cold, too big, too small, too hard, and too soft. As Goldilocks moves through the house of the Three Bears she finds that everything belonging to the family’s baby bear happens to be “just right” for her. This idea is applicable to any of a number of things in life. The same thing, depending on such things as context, scale and size can be off to a user, but when slight adjustments are made it can then be found to be “just right.”

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A. Paul Glauser, AICP - CNU Utah Board Member

At its annual Chapter Meeting on November 2, 2017, CNU Utah recognized several Utah projects and people that have exemplified particularly well the principles in the Charter of the New Urbanism. This is the first in a series of blog posts highlighting these award winners. Downtown Provo’s historic Center Street area has been enjoying an exciting resurgence in recent years. Yet the block immediately east of University Avenue, north side of Center, had a gnawing problem which impeded its recovery: in the 1980s two movie theaters had been demolished in the name of renewal, and both sites had languished for decades as surface parking lots – two glaring gaps in the street façade which compromised the block’s ability to attract walking traffic.

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Reid Ewing, Ph.D.

Shima Hamidi, a former doctoral student of mine and now assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, may be the most prolific young planning academic in the country. A year and a half after graduation, she already has 24 articles published in many of the leading journals and another eight under review. Much of her research relates directly or indirectly to polycentric development. It’s a topic that I’ve been thinking quite a bit about lately.

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Ivis Garcia Zambrana, PhD, AICP

With no communication, it took a whole week for me to hear from my family in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria—the worst natural disaster that has ever befallen the island since 1928. My family told me that they are ‘ok’, even though they do not have electric power or water. Their situation was not unique, 92% and 55% of islanders do not have electric power or water, respectively.

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Jon Larsen, PE - CNU Utah Board Chair

Until we slow down cars, people will continue to die in crashes on our streets. It’s that simple. We’ve tasked our engineers with the impossible: maintaining traffic speeds as fast as possible while at the same time asking them to keep everyone safe. As a society, we’re in denial about the fact that we can’t have both. Something has got to give.

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Ivis Garcia Zambrana, PhD, AICP

The goal of the Paint the Pavement program is to increase connections between artists and residents through placemaking. Cities across the nation have implemented Paint the Pavement projects including Portland, Seattle and Boulder. Salt Lake City developed a permit program in 2012 for the program, but did not get any takers for several years. The Rose Park Community Council made history in Salt Lake City by installing the first Paint the Pavement project last May on the intersection of 800 N & American Beauty Drive.

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