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Why Ivins’ Residents Oppose The SITLA 120 Development

A Fragile Ecosystem


The SITLA 120 project is detrimental to the sensitive nature of this land. The term “Sensitive Lands” is used by environmental experts to describe ecologically diverse landscapes that sustain critical habitat, such as the threatened Mojave Desert Tortoises, found commonly in the nearby Red Cliffs National Conservation Area.

For residents and visitors to Ivins, the current SITLA 120 property provides an opportunity to experience and appreciate the natural quiet and awe-inspiring beauty of this unspoiled desert landscape - an opportunity that would be lost forever with the development of a commercial resort.



The people of Ivins understand, that in the desert Southwest, water is precious. We know with the aquifers depleted and our reservoirs at dangerously low levels, we must make sacrifices. Individual citizens and neighborhoods are taking steps and making sacrifices to use less water.

Visitors on vacation at a resort are not likely to have the vested interests of the community in mind and won’t have to make sacrifices. It is foolish to believe the literally thousands of visitors who stay at the resort will have any commitment to conserving water. The developers will not make sacrifices either. The landscaping that is typical of a resort will be another burden on our precious water resource. We voiced our concerns in the public hearings again and again. We asked, “Where will the water come from?” Our concerns were ignored.

It is irresponsible to build a resort, in this desert environment, in the worst water crisis in centuries.

Geology of the Land


The natural features of this beautiful and unique property also make it challenging to develop. Two features, in particular, create serious challenges. The Northern part of the SITLA property is the infamous Chinle Layer, riddled with blue clay, responsible for building woes all over St. George, including the airport.  Downhill in the NW section of the property the aquifer lies within a few feet of the surface, adding more complexity to any development.

SITLA-120 vs Geology Ivins sensitive lands map

Surface groundwater has halted development and required extensive mitigation efforts in construction projects adjacent to the NW section of the SITLA property and will also require extensive excavation in the case of SITLA 120. Massive amounts of dirt will need to be moved destroying the breathtaking terrain.


An Expensive Lesson​


In nearby St George, the expansive property of Blue Clay was underappreciated during the construction of the new St. George Airport. Consequently, the subterranean Blue Clay played a devastating role in the destruction of the new runways when it caused heaving and fracturing of the surface pavement, making the runways unusable.


After years of expensive digging, what will happen if the developer abandons the project?  The community would be left with an empty pit and irreversible destruction of the natural environment.

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A Big Dig


Large sections of the SITLA 120 land contain widespread deposits of expansive “Blue Clay,” Blue Clay is a highly expansive substrate that can increase up to 30 times its volume when exposed to water. Irrigating the landscaping of a resort development would result in the percolation of the water to the Blue Clay deposit. Blue Clay must be removed to avoid the destructive effect of expansion on future structures. Some areas must be excavated as much as 30 ft. below the surface grade.


Here is an example of a nearby lot that required excavation between 17’ - 24’ deep in order to remove the Blue Clay, and was later filled with new soil to prepare for potential construction. This required dozens of16yd side dump loads to take the Blue Clay-contaminated material out, and several dozen loads back in of replacement material to fill the site. This will have to be repeated many times in order to develop the SITLA 120 property.

Nearby home with excavation between 17’ – 24’ deep.



The SITLA 120 land is landlocked and can only be accessed on the West side by way of Puerto Dr, a residential street (existing minor collector on the Ivins Transportation Master Plan) through established neighborhoods with two main entrances to schools posing a significant safety hazard, increased traffic and disruption to the community. 


The excavation required to mitigate groundwater and blue clay is estimated to require 110,000 trips by large, 16yd dump trucks, as pictured here. 


The only access to the SITLA property is by way of the neighborhood street, Puerto Drive. As a result, school children playing and walking to school would be forced to share the road with, large construction vehicles, creating an unacceptable risk to the children’s safety.


What is DOGI Doing Now?

  • We have retained an attorney to present an appeal of the City Council’s decision.

  • We have asked the judge to grant a stay to stop development until the court rules on the appeal.

What is Ivins City Doing?


  • The City of Ivins has retained an attorney to fight our efforts to appeal the City Council’s decision.

  • The City’s attorney and all legal costs are covered by the City’s insurance.

Who Pays DOGI's Legal Expenses?

  • Our efforts are supported solely by the donations of private citizens.

  • We are grateful for the overwhelming support from the residents of Ivins, who donated over $50,000 to stop this project.

What Are the Next Steps?​

We are considering all legal options.

This website will provide the best way for you to stay informed about this issue. Scroll below and enter your email address in the "Stay Connected" section to get all of our updates direct to your your inbox.

How Can You help?​


Visit our Get Involved website to see how you can help us drive reasonable development in Ivins.

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