Farmington OKs development accord with THC

Feb 28 2013 - 4:23am

FARMINGTON -- City leaders claim they are drawing a line in the sand with a developer in approving a development agreement for Park Lane Commons.

The city council formally approved a development accord recently with The Haws Company, regarding the building of Park Lane Commons, north of Station Park. Among other things, the accord limits the potential signage for the project to 50 feet in height, not the 85 feet that THC had requested, so signage could be seen from Interstate 15.

The height of the tower is one of three key issues THC and city officials have been trying to iron out for the commercial area, just north of Park Lane near the city's light rail stop.

Negotiations for the development accord have been combative at times, with THC officials claiming they need flexibility in developing a unique piece of property in dealing with form-based codes. There has been some discussion about locating a McDonald's on the site, and city officials worry the fast-food giant has been spearheading some of the changes THC has been proposing.

Even with the accord smoothed out, city officials spent a lot of time on the topic at a recent work session.

Councilman Jim Talbot, a developer, warned that if city officials give any ground on the agreement, they will regret it.

"If the city doesn't take a stand, I can guarantee they will come and ask for more," Talbot promised.

Talbot said TMC officials are continually pushing the line in seeking concessions.

"It's like no doesn't mean no, it means maybe," Talbot said.

City Manager Dave Millheim, who also has been a developer, said neither he nor Mayor Scott Harbertson is in any hurry to negotiate beyond the parameters the council has established.

"I don't have 'stupid' written on my forehead. When the council goes through as many meetings as you have gone through, you can call me anti-development all day, but if you think we're going to sit and negotiate something the council hasn't voted on, I don't operate that way," Millheim said.

Along with signage, there has been discord on how much flexibility the city's form-based code for the region allows the developer in the width of sidewalks and landscaping, as well as an extension agreement for potential sidewalk improvements along Station Parkway.

The proposed project is one small component of a project master plan to develop 73 acres across Park Lane from Station Park.

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