Growth seen along the Jordanelle Reservoir
After several years of uncertainty surrounding the development of the land along the banks of the Jordanelle Reservoir, Wasatch County Manager Mike Davis says "things are kind of starting to finally come together now."
At a joint meeting on Monday before the Wasatch County, Summit County, Park City and Heber City councils, Davis provided Wasatch Back leaders with an update about the pending expansion.
"We have been in quite a waiting period and we wanted to have all of our ducks in a row before things started moving," Davis said in an interview with The Park Record. "Now it’s happening."
Within the last few weeks, Davis said the Wasatch County Council has been approached by property owners in the area seeking master density approval for residential and commercial expansion, including a proposal for the expansive Mayflower acreage. He said the Netherlands-based company that owns the property is seeking approval in an area that has a targeted density of 2,000 residential units.
The development of the area, which encompasses several thousand acres on both sides of U.S. 40 in Wasatch County, has been a topic among the area’s development circles for several years. As previously reported in The Park Record, Wasatch County granted the development approvals starting in 1985.
"That’s the largest development in the area, but we won’t know what it will really look like until we go through the process and make that determination," Davis said. "We’ve received their master density plan for the area that determines where roads would go, for instance. The next step would be to break into smaller pieces or phases and come into final approval for those phases, which is when we will know exactly what will be built whether its hotels or condos or townhomes or commercial space."
The Mayflower land includes parcels near the Jordanelle State Park, Wasatch County Fire Station, and at the base of Deer Valley Resort’s Jordanelle Express Gondola extending to the Red Cloud Subdivision in Empire Pass, Davis said.
The Wasatch County Council recently approved more than 800 residential units to be located on the east side of U.S. 40, Davis said. He said the applicant, Deer Cove, is proposing a hotel, commercial and light residential directly east of where the gondola is. He added that the applicant mentioned created an underpass to link directly to Deer Valley.
Davis said Wasatch County leaders are also studying Deer Valley Resort’s expansion proposal to include more ski lifts, runs and additional parking and roads to facilitate transportation.
"We have basically partnered together and are using that as our guidelines," Davis said.
The military’s role in development
Infrastructure for the area’s development would be created through the Military Installation Development Authority (MIDA), Davis said, adding that over time, the facilities would generate revenue through tax increment refunds and bonds.
"MIDA provides incentives for both the developer to build something the way we want it built and also an incentive for us to create public infrastructure that we would like to see," Davis said. "We are taking that opportunity now in the Jordanelle."
However, Davis said the military is required to own property within the project area to enable implementation of the tax increments. He said when parcels of land owned by the Talisker Corporation were foreclosed on, Wells Fargo inherited a parcel just south of Deer Crest that it has agreed to donate.
"That will trigger the ability for all of this to start actually happening," Davis said. "We have talked about it for years, but we haven’t been reached a point where stuff can start actually happening. With the military acquiring this ground, which we anticipate will be completed in August or September, we will be able to allow these other properties to start benefiting."
Davis briefly acknowledged the impacts the development would have on traffic and workforce housing. He said it will generate a need for more housing, which will be located on the east side of U.S. 40. However, he provided few details.
"It’s just kind of coming together now," Davis said. "It’s not like we will see something up there by the end of the year, but within the next couple of years we will start to see a fair amount of development."
Impacts on neighboring communities
Summit County Council Chair Roger Armstrong said the proposals that are going before Wasatch County leaders have the potential to create a substantial economic opportunity for the county.
"It reminds me of what Park City may have been experiencing in the late 1990s and early 2000s in the run up to the Olympics," Armstrong said. "The base area they are contemplating over in Mayflower could be a huge economic driver for that region. It’s actually quite remarkable."
However, Armstrong said "with substantial growth comes substantial challenges." He said Summit County and Park City leaders are concerned about how that growth could impact traffic, housing and economics in the county.
"It becomes a basic fundamental issue for our residents about how those developments that are being planned in Wasatch County affect us here," he said. "We are going to have to figure out how that all works together and part of that is in good planning because ultimately we will merge together and if we don’t get our arms around before those isolated problems they will become regional problems."