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City will purchase five acres for $7 million, primarily funded by a bond

Aug 02, 2022 10:49AM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton

By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]

In early June, city officials announced their intent to purchase approximately five acres of land for $7 million in what is deemed “town center.” The land is located east of City Hall along Pioneer Road. The city already owns approximately four acres next to City Hall in the same vicinity.

“The City is interested in this purchase to preserve the continuity of City property in the city center/historic district. The property is owned by Boyer Company and Ivory Development, LLC,” said a statement from the city.

According to City Manager David Dobbins, the Boyer Company and Ivory Development, LLC approached the city several years ago about their plans for the property. They discussed higher density on the five acres and had submitted an application to that effect, but then withdrew it.

“After they withdrew the application…there was the possibility the state legislature may mandate minimum densities around transit stops. We had always wanted to acquire some of the land to connect City Hall with Draper Park. During discussion about what kind of density might be required by the legislature, we decided it was best to see if we could acquire the property and decide what to do with it in the future, and we weren’t subject to the developer’s application,” Dobbins said.

In order for the purchase to happen, the city had 60 days to process a rezone allowing the property owners to realign their plan for the property that they’ll retain in the same area, approximately 22 acres. “The city’s purchase is contingent on the city rezoning the 22 acres…to allow about 2.8 units per acre,” Dobbins said in June.

The planning commission voted on the matter July 14 and forwarded a positive recommendation to the city council. An ordinance to rezone the 22 acres was presented for a public hearing at the July 19 City Council meeting and passed unanimously. “Because of the issue of high-density housing, this gives us the ability to control our town center no matter what the legislature does. Their goal is to remove as much city planning as possible because of the ‘housing crisis’…It gives us an opportunity to plan that 10 acres. Just so you understand the political climate, it’s real,” Mayor Troy Walker said immediately following the vote.

Finance Director Bob Wylie explained the financing of the purchase. “Draper City issued Sales Tax Revenue Bonds in July 2022 for the purpose of financing land acquisition. The city received $5,350,000 from the proceeds of the sale of these bonds, and with the city’s contribution of $1,650,000, the city will have $7,000,000 to be used for the purchase of the land,” he said.

Dobbins and Walker had traveled to San Francisco in June for a bond rating meeting with Standard & Poor’s. “We have an excellent bond rating right now, but that bond rating will be updated by Standard & Poor’s before we try to sell the bonds,” Dobbins said in June.

Councilmember Fred Lowry approved the agreement for the city’s intent to purchase the five acres at the June council meeting. “I think this is an important purchase for our city. We don’t like to have bonds, but I’m excited about the opportunity for this,” he said.  

Dobbins said the city hasn’t determined a use for the newly purchased five acres.

 “Not only are we trying to act in a preventive measure, we hope it might become a civic center or park or something everyone can benefit from,” Councilmember Tasha Lowery said.