Wasatch County Council Approves Density For Biggest Development In History Of County

The Wasatch County Council recently approved the final density for the county’s largest development  ever.  New York based Extell Development Company is developing a high-end destination resort that will provide another base for the Deer Valley Ski Area at the Mayflower exit off US-40 overlooking the Jordanelle Reservoir. Carolyn Murray has this report.

The Wasatch County Council unanimously approved Extell’s master plan density for what’s being called the Mayflower Mountain Resort. With this preliminary approval, the developer can secure financing and begin work on the infrastructure. Wasatch County Manager, Mike Davis said the developer will need more approvals from Council before construction starts.

So, they’ll come in with a, for example, it might be a hotel. And they’ll say here’s a phase, we are going to do a hotel. So then we’ll dig into the detail of that hotel and all the infrastructure and so forth that goes into it. So, yeah, there’s a lot more to do but it was a big step”

1,700 ERU’s, known as equivalent residential units, are counted in the density.

“It’s pretty big. It’s basically for the condominiums, it could be fractional ERU’s but for the most part, it’s one unit per ERU so we’re looking at 1700 condos or homes or town homes or something to that effect. So, that’s quite a few.”

Davis said this is not necessarily a one-to-one transfer. Only residential units are counted in the density – not commercial.

“So, if it’s a true hotel, in other words, not a condo hotel, that doesn’t count towards the density. If it’s a restaurant, that doesn’t count towards the density. And so, the density is geared towards residents whether they’re part time or full time.”

An additional 250 to 300 thousand square feet of commercial and conference space was also approved. Even though amendments will have to be made to the project site for affordable housing and a rerouting of a road that Deer Valley Manager Bob Wheaton has said will ruin the world class ski experience if it’s left as is – the council approved the density. Davis says part of that had to do with financing and the donation of a parcel to the US Air Force for a military recreation wellness center. He said they also needed to get the tax increment measure in place so that other development projects in the area – like Sky Ridge could start. Once in place, the tax increment will help pay for  all of the infrastructure in the Jordanelle Basin.

“And before they would do the donation, they wanted to have their density secure as well as the ability to finance the construction of the development. And so, there were a lot of pressures, is the word I’ll use, to get the density determined so they could   proceed forward, donate the property. And, once the property is donated, because we have the potential tax increment issues, that will allow that to trigger. We have some other developments in the area that are ready to develop.”

Davis said there will be 95,000 square feet of workforce housing on site. Right now, it’s on slopes greater than 30% which doesn’t meet code, so the plans will need to be revised. Some of it will be built immediately and some of it will happen in a phased build out over several years.

It’s going to be deed restricted and geared towards people that work in that area. There will be other affordable housing requirements. Again, that’s going to be completely addressed through the development agreement. But, there’s talk of being able to help with housing for essential services like law enforcement so we can do some additional affordable housing other places as well as work force housing on site. And, some of this will be in the way of long- time commitment of funds to keep those levels of service up. So, it’s many millions of dollars that we’re looking at for the affordable housing plan.”

The Military Hotel, known as MIDA, will have a large conference center. Extell will build a smaller conference area combined with a Rec Center.

Davis said transit is being considered for the project even though Wasatch County currently doesn’t have a system in place.

There are some in the Extell portion as well as a couple of the developments we’re working on, on the east side of the highway. We are allowing for transit pick-ups and centers. In those areas and we’re anticipating that in partnership with MIDA, we’ll be able to engage a firm or an authority to help us design the transit system. What we want to do is design it and know when we need to start implementing these types of things. But, it’s anticipated that part of the tax increment can help build these things.”

That’s Wasatch County Manager, Mike Davis

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