Prison Relocation Commission to Consider Two More Potential Sites

Sources tell UtahPolicy that when the Prison Relocation Commission meets Friday the seven members will consider two new sites for the half-billion-dollar prison – one in Tooele County and one in Utah County.

The Tooele County new site will be very near the huge Wal-Mart Distribution center by Grantsville, and is not favored by local residents, one source said.

“It is no better, well, maybe slightly better” than the current Tooele County favored site next to the Miller Motorsports Park just outside of Grantsville.

The PRC has already identified three preferred sites for a new 500-acre prison facility – in northwestern Utah County, west of the Salt Lake International Airport and north of I-80, and the Tooele County Miller land. Maps of those sites have already been made public.

Now the PRC may have five sites to give final consideration to this spring. Under the current timetable, the legislative seven-member PRC will make a final site recommendation in April or May, said House Majority Assistant Whip Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, the co-chair of the PRC.

Thursday morning, Gov. Gary Herbert told reporters that he would “probably” veto any bill that side-steps the executive branch’s authority over prison relocation.

Last week, Wilson told his 63-member House GOP caucus that Republican leaders think it would be a good idea if the Legislature gave the PRC the power to decide the new prison site – and bypass any votes on that site for the whole 104 part-time Legislature.

Wilson said he would soon introduce a bill to give the PRC that power.

Herbert objects to that, telling his month KUED Channel 7 press conference that that would be a terrible process and one that would exclude the executive branch of government – which should have some say in the new prison’s location.

Herbert also said he expects the whole Legislature, House and Senate, to debate where the new prison should be – even if it should be removed at all but just rebuilt at the current Draper site – and take votes on it.

The new Wal-Mart Tooele County site is only slightly better for residents than the Motorsports Park, one Republican told UtahPolicy.

And if the PRC won’t take off the Miller site and replace it with Wal-Mart site, then really nothing is gained for Tooele County residents in the new situation, he added.

Already one Utah County site has been dumped by the PRC after the landowners said they would not willing sell to the state and, instead, would continue with attempts to subdivide the land for residential and commercial application.

You can see the three preliminary sites and read all kinds of PRC material here.