Motor-Vu Drive-In no longer shows movies; Land repurposed for housing | News, Sports, Jobs

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Coleman’s Motor-Vu drive-in cinema in Riverdale is pictured Wednesday May 18, 2022. The films in the drive-in theater have been suspended indefinitely, the company announced on Tuesday.

Deborah Wilber, Standards Reviewer

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Coleman’s Motor-Vu drive-in cinema in Riverdale is pictured Wednesday May 18, 2022.

Deborah Wilber, Standards Reviewer

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Coleman’s Motor-Vu drive-in cinema in Riverdale is pictured Wednesday May 18, 2022.

Deborah Wilber, Standards Reviewer

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Vehicles await Coleman’s Motor Vu Drive-in Thursday, June 9, 2016 in Riverdale.

SARAH WELLIVER, Standard Examiner file photo

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Coleman’s Motor-Vu drive-in cinema in Riverdale is pictured Wednesday May 18, 2022.

Deborah Wilber, Standards Reviewer

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RIVERDALE — Utah’s already dwindling number of drive-in theaters appears to be heading down yet again.

Coleman’s Motor-Vu Drive-In in Riverdale, which first opened in 1947, will no longer be showing movies “until further notice,” according to a post on his Facebook page. At the same time, a Riverdale official says the land Motor-Vu sits on — home to a weekend swap meet — has been rezoned so the land can be converted into a housing development.

“The plan is to convert it into single-family homes,” said Michael Eggett, Riverdale’s community development director. The city council reallocated the 20-hectare site on which Motor-Vu is located on February 1 from A-1, designated for agricultural use, to R-2, which allows for single-family housing development.

Representatives from Motor-Vu or RD Development Holdings from Sandy, the developer, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the standards reviewer. But a Motor Vu Facebook post alludes to the potential for change.

“We are OPEN for the swap meet on Sunday,” says the post on Tuesday. “Movies are CLOSED until further notice.”

The Motor-Vu property is located at 5368 S. 1050 West in Riverdale and is bordered by Interstate 84 to the east, 1050 West to the west and Schneiter’s Riverside Golf Course to the south.

The drive-in was a favorite summer program for some, and Motor-Vu’s contribution was greeted with sadness and nostalgia by those who read it. DriveInMovie.com, a website that focuses on drive-in theaters, reports that there are only five drive-in theaters left in Utah, including Motor-Vu and the only one in Weber County. According to the website, the number of drive-in theaters nationwide has fallen from a peak of about 4,000 in the 1950s to about 300 today.

“Oh no! We really wanted to take our kids this year. They’re finally old enough,” wrote one poster.

Someone else noted the constant pressure to build more homes. “The age of the drive-in theater has been sacrificed for housing and it is truly tragic,” they wrote.

In any case, Eggett said his office has not received any formal development proposals from RD Development, despite the zoning change last February. Providing water on the property is a constant point of discussion, he said.

In fact, details on the potential development of the Motor-Vu site are sketchy. But Riverdale’s overall plan, the document guiding development in the city, says apartments would fit on the drive-through lot.

“Should the drive-in cinema no longer be a desirable operation for the property owner, then it is assumed that the most logical use would be as a single-family home to stabilize and enhance the existing neighborhoods west and south of the driveway – in the theater,” the general plan states.

The plan notes potential synergies between housing if built on the drive-in site and golf course to the south. “This could result in a unique housing development in Riverdale and allow the project to achieve a higher price point than if the drive-thru site were a typical subdivision,” it said.

RD Development Holdings didn’t say much in its motion, at least in the part that was released publicly with the information on the February 1 city council meeting when the rezoning issue arose.

“A new residential area will increase the value of neighboring properties. It will also provide additional housing for Riverdale residents,” wrote RD Development. Riverdale’s general plan was said to include housing on lots of approximately 0.2 acres in the area in question.

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