Prison Relocation Commission to Meet August 11 at 2 p.m.; Will Consider Recommending Site for New Utah State Correctional Facility

The state Legislature’s Prison Relocation Commission will meet August 11th at 2 p.m. to discuss the four finalist sites for a new Utah State Correctional Facility. The PRC may then vote to recommend one of the sites to the Legislature and Governor Herbert's consideration.

“At our last meeting in July, we received a great deal of technical detail about the final four sites and PRC members were asked to review the materials and submit questions for legislative staff and PRC consultants to answer,” said PRC Co-Chair Sen. Jerry Stevenson. “Since then, our staff and consultants have worked to answer those questions and finalize their reports. As a result, it’s very possible we will be ready to select a recommended site on August 11th.”

“This has been an unprecedented and intricate process that has become very emotional for residents of the four communities that are finalists to host the new correctional facility,” PRC Co-Chair Rep. Brad Wilson added. “We owe it to them and to the rest of the state to arrive at a decision as quickly as possible without compromising the integrity of a very complex site-review process. I’m confident we’re finally reaching the end of that road.”

The PRC meeting will be held August 11th at 2 p.m. in Room 30 of the House Building on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City.

Next steps after PRC recommendation

Once the PRC chooses a site for recommendation, it will report its choice to the Legislature and Governor. It is anticipated that the Governor will then call a special session of the Legislature to approve or reject the recommended site.

In the 2014 General Session, 95 of 104 legislators voted to move the state prison from Draper and to construct a modern, efficient correctional facility elsewhere. At the same time, the Legislature also created the PRC to identify and recommend a location for a new Utah State Correctional Facility. Since then, the PRC has sifted through more than 50 sites voluntarily submitted by property owners to arrive at four finalist sites.

Over the past 18 months, PRC members, legislative staff, and site-selection consultants have held numerous meetings with landowners, elected and appointed city officials, social service providers, environmental groups, economic development agencies, various government agencies, and others, to acquire information on these four sites. The PRC also hosted three five-hour-long public open houses and question-and-answer sessions, and a public hearing, to better understand community concerns.

The PRC’s consultants were charged to provide the Commission with an in-depth technical analysis of each finalist site, as well as how site challenges could be mitigated if needed. These include, among other things:

§  Site acreage, configuration, and topography;

§  Geotechnical conditions (soil type, proximity to fault lines, and potential for soil liquefaction);

§  Environmental issues (flood hazard potential, presence of wetlands, potential special status species habitats, waste contamination, known cultural resources, presence of insect pests, air quality impacts from transportation of inmates, supplies, staff, and volunteers);

§  Land use considerations (zoning and potential for conflict with current and future uses on surrounding properties);

§  Utility services (availability of water, wastewater, electricity, natural gas, and telecommunications services);

§  Access considerations (availability and condition of access roads, potential access improvements needed, proximity to employees, volunteers, inmate families, health care facilities, and courts);

§  Property acquisition potential (site ownership, appraised land value, landowners’ motivation for selling, potential for below-market acquisition, and ease of acquisition)

§  Capital costs (site preparation costs, mitigation costs for wetlands and/or cultural resources, and infrastructure costs for building roads and utilities);

§  Community concerns (public opinion, potential sales and income tax revenue, ease of obtaining permits, ease of overall implementation of project, nearby economic development potential, and access for various user groups); and

§  50-year operational costs (long-term cost of utilities, long-term transportation costs for employees, volunteers, vendors, visitors, and for the Department of Corrections transporting inmates to and from medical facilities and courts).

The four sites being considered as the location for the new Utah State Correctional Facility are:

§  I-80 / 7200 West in Salt Lake County, 3 miles west of the Salt Lake City International Airport and International Center business/light industrial park;

§  Lake Mountains West in Utah County, at the southernmost part of Eagle Mountain City;

§  Cedar Valley South in Utah County, southwest of Eagle Mountain at the southernmost portion of the Town of Fairfield; and

§  SR 138 Industrial Park Site in Tooele County, just west of the Walmart Distribution Center.