Weber County commissioners approve Summit-Eden CDA

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 2:02 PM

Cathy McKitrick, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — Weber County Commissioners approved the Summit-Eden Community Development Project Area plan Tuesday that is expected to transform Powder Mountain and breath new economic vitality into both the upper and lower Ogden Valleys.

According to Douglas Larsen, executive director for Weber Economic Development Partnership, the 20-year CDA has been over a year in the making and will roll out in several phases, ultimately increasing property tax revenue generated by development of 6,277 mountainside acres from the current $12,000 per year to a possible $14 million at full build-out.

During the CDA’s first decade, a proposed 75 percent of the increased property tax revenue would fund project infrastructure. That amount would decrease to 50 percent during years 11 through 20. Even so, participating taxing entities are expected to receive an annual average of $3.5 million during the term of the CDA, Larsen said.

The project is expected to add 700-plus construction jobs over 18 years, 1,000 resort and Summit community-related positions and about 2,000 indirect jobs, Larsen said, adding that construction investments will exceed $1 billion.

“So, big numbers, big return,” Larsen said.

Bonneville Research, a Salt Lake City-based consulting firm, prepared a benefit analysis for the project. If all four phases reach completion, the development will add a total of 1,000 single and multi-family dwelling units along with 290,000 square feet of commercial space, the study said.

Developing a mountain brings big challenges in constructing public improvements that include roads, bridges, water, sewer, power and other utilities — hence the need for tax increment financing, which is expected to funnel $98 million back into the project over 20 years, the study said.

Tim Wheelwright, president of the Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce, lauded the project.

“We see this as a great opportunity to enhance what already exists here in Ogden and Weber County,” Wheelwright said, anticipating that the development will draw people from all over the state and world.

However, at least one resident spoke out about the massive project’s draw on natural resources.

Gay Browning of the nearby Bar B Ranch questioned whether the new well that Summit Mountain Holding Group (SMHG) recently had drilled on the mountain would be sustainable.

Browning asked commissioners for a hydrology report and a pump test that would show how much water the well draws down during pumping and how long it takes to return to its static level.

“We’re in a drought,” Browning said, “and we’re also seeing decreased water levels in our stream just below this area. We have many streams and this well is very deep.”

Greg Mauro, principal and manager for SMHG, said they pay more than a quarter million dollars per year to maintain water rights and have gone through the proper processes for their current well.

“The things she is looking for are things we had to produce as part of bringing this well on,” Mauro said.

The commission’s vote allows negotiations to proceed between the participating taxing entities, which include Weber County, Weber School District and the Powder Mountain Sewer and Water District.

Contact reporter Cathy McKitrick at 801-625-4214 or Follow her on Twitter at @catmck.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.