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Land buy not a done deal

Summit County expects to spend $12.5 million to buy land at Kimball Junction that is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The county and Park City have reached a tentative agreement to purchase about 727 acres of open space at Kimball Junction and Round Valley for $25 million.

"This is not a done deal at this point in time," Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer stressed.

Wednesday the County Commission voted to enter a purchase agreement to buy the property from The Boyer Company, which expects to purchase the land from a real estate arm of the LDS Church.

"We would eliminate in the Kimball Junction quite a lot of density," Richer said.

Buying the open space would mean The Boyer Company couldn’t build 800 potential homes at Kimball Junction, Richer explained.

But the deal is not slated to close until December.

The Kimball Junction parcel, which is costing more than $16 million, is about 330 acres, Richer explained.

The land in Round Valley is nearly $9 million, he said, adding that Park City will split the cost of the purchase.

Commissioners insist the announcement of the tentative arrangement last month was not timed in conjunction with the Tuesday election.

"I’ve been sort of drooling over [this property] for a long, long time," said Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott, who won in the race for seat A on the new Summit County Council.

Elliott praised Richer for working with the Basin Open Space Advisory Committee to finalize the contract.

"He’s getting it done, as a member of BOSAC, as quickly as he possibly could have done it," Elliott said.

Five acres near the open space could be used for a needed cemetery in the Snyderville Basin, Richer said.

The Boyer Company expects to develop a research park similar to the facility at the University of Utah on 89 acres adjacent to the open space, he added.

Boyer received $50,000 earnest money and both sides could engage in due diligence proceedings until Dec. 1, Richer said.

"No general funds will be used to purchase open space on the West Side," he said.

Park City Municipal would own the Round Valley land outright, Park Mayor Dana Williams explained, adding that the city would own a quarter share of the parcel at Kimball Junction, which is located about seven miles from Park City.

The Park City Council will consider whether to approve the purchase agreement at a meeting Thursday. The city and county will each contribute $12.5 million to fund the transaction from open space bonds approved by voters.

Williams praised officials who cooperated to purchase the open space on behalf of the city and county, saying the deal could help control traffic by limiting growth at Kimball Junction.

A million square feet of commercial development was possible on the property east of Utah Olympic Park, said the mayor, who claims taxpayers have paid to preserve about 7,000 acres of open space in western Summit County.


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