FARMINGTON -- City leaders have voted to use Redevelopment Agency funds to help remove a blight on the city's north side while attempting to help a neighborhood group's humanitarian effort at the same time.
The RDA voted 4-0 Tuesday night to provide approximately $96,225 to help Villa Susanna PUD, LLC, raze an old church at 1400 N. Main St. for a planned unit development of five single-family residences.
The approval comes with a 15-month sunset clause.
A number of conditions are attached to the approval, including adding a key affordable-housing element to make it work.
Another key issue includes allowing a city inspector to make sure the old church is beyond repair.
Developer Frank McCullough is working with the owner of the property, in collaboration with the neighborhood, to redevelop the site.
The corner property currently houses an LDS Church built in 1914.
McCullough stepped forward to help Susan Maughan, who owns the property and had lived in the old church until recently, with the intent of directing any potential profits toward a possible new residence for Maughan as part of the development.
He outlined a plan to raze the church and prepare the property for a five-unit development by another builder.
City officials also have talked about deed restrictions and other guidelines they would put on the plat as a means to guarantee the quality of the finished product.
Initially, Maughan had requested that the RDA provide up to $120,000 in funding for the project, but McCullough said the owner's son has spent considerable time in the past three months cleaning the site and removing debris from the church.
McCullough said the cleaning may help reduce the overall cost of razing the building and mitigate any potential issues associated with the demolition.
McCullough said he and neighbors are not making any money in the transaction and have collaborated to help Maughan find a new residence, while also addressing a neighborhood problem.
Mayor Scott Harbertson said he has wanted to address the deteriorating structure for several years.
City Manager Dave Millheim said the project is solving more than one problem at the same time.
The slope of the area around 1400 North is also part of the concern with any possible project in the area.
Council members have stewed over details of how the homes are situated and how traffic would flow from the project onto westbound traffic off the hill.