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Council amends development agreement, makes way for reimbursement

Article Date: 
18 May, 2012 (All day)

The Morgan County Council agreed to amend a development agreement, effectively reimbursing a developer for affordable housing the county never built.

Familiar with state statutes for affordable housing, then-planner Sherrie Christensen steered the developer into a development agreement with an affordable housing element.  Nilson Homes agreed years ago to pay $2,500 per unit in the Aspen Meadows development to be put toward affordable housing in the county.

According to the development agreement, Nilson Homes paid $20,000 into Morgan County’s redevelopment fund, which was eventually transferred to the general fund in the wake of the Garth Day investigation.

The original plan was to use the money to develop a lot in the Wasatch Shadows subdivision that had been previously acquired with community development block grant funds, Kelley said.  The lot was to be offered to someone struggling to find affordable housing in the county.

Because of the economy, plans for developing the lot fell through and now Nilson Homes wants their $20,000 back.

County Attorney Jann Farris said the county is on the losing side of a recent ombudsman opinion, and advised the county to refund the developer.  Deciding against the refund could put the county on the hook for the developer’s attorney fees, he said.

“I’ve reviewed all possible outs on this, and can’t see any,” Farris said. 

The county abolished a paragraph of the original development agreement with Nilson Homes so that the $2,500 per unit is not collected in the future.