Developer Rulon Gardner has plans for a new 22-lot development, and is approaching the county and school board about the possibility of using tax increment funding to build a reservoir feature. The reservoir would double as a private amenity for the development as well as storage for secondary water.
The North Side Creek subdivision project in Mountain Green would incorporate an old gravel pit that has been mined for years, Gardner said. The plan is to reclaim that area and transform it into a recreational water facility amenity fit for water skiing. The developer procured final plat approval for the subdivision years ago, but hasn’t constructed any homes there. Gardner said he plans to amend the plat to include the water feature and a club house, swimming pool, and tennis courts.
Gardner approached the county recently to discuss the possibility of using tax increments to fund construction of the reservoir. He said he is on the school district’s next agenda to discuss the same thing. Without both entities opting in to a tax increment interlocal agreement, the “numbers may not work,” the developer said.
Tax increments are generated when revitalized land generates more property taxes than it did in its previous state and includes the valuation of homes on that land. For example, a portion of land in the old gravel pit currently valued at $100,000 may be generating $1,000 of property tax each year. However, if a home were built on the land and the valuation increased to $500,000, the same portion of land would now generate $5,000 in property taxes. The difference between the $5,000 and the previous $1,000, in this case $4,000, would be considered a tax increment.
Gardner would like to use those increments produced by the new subdivision over the course of about 20 years to pay back funds procured by the developer to build the reservoir. This does not call for a change in the tax rate, but assumes a higher valuation for the land in its improved state.
Gardner said he would not use tax increment monies to pay for infrastructure for the lots.
“Lot values will escalate” because of the reservoir, Gardner said. “It is an economic driver to this.”
The county and school board would have to agree to an interlocal agreement allowing the capture of tax increments.
The tool allowing the use of tax increments is known as CDA, or community development agency. Sandy City used a CDA to develop the Rio Tinto Stadium.
“We would be partnering public and private to create the amenity, and pay back with the increment,” Gardner said. “This is a great way of reclaiming that gravel pit so it doesn’t sit forever more as an old gravel pit.”
He also said he has received state and Weber Basin Water approval for reservoir construction and water storage rights.
Gardner predicts that the subdivision may include secondary “vacation” homes. He also removed two lots from the original plat because they were in the flight path of the county airport. A water feature is welcome as public lakes are getting full and dangerous, Gardner said.