LAYTON -- Negotiating with Layton leaders on the cost of a small stretch of city-owned road played more like a nightmare on Elm Street than a dream for Fort Lane Village LLC representatives.
Layton businessman Doug Durbano, one of three area developers making up the Fort Lane Village group, recently approached the Layton City Council in an open meeting to request they reduce, or eliminate, the cost of 15,000 square feet of city land within the proposed 21-acre commercial center they are developing at Gentile Street and Fort Lane.
Durbano, who is part of the Fort Lane Village team along with Kevin Garn and Jeff Yarbrough, said his hope is that the city could retain its property, as it is difficult for them to build on and will continue to be used as an access to the property.
"If we acquire it from the city, it would be a liability to us," Durbano said of the stretch of seldom-used road known as Elm Street. "It will always be a public access."
But the council, by a 3-2 vote, refused to amend the previous agreement with the developers, which city staff contend included the group agreeing to the city's asking price of $10 per square foot for its surplus street.
Councilmen Michael Bouwhuis and Scott Freitag said they were amenable to holding a closed meeting with Durbano to further discuss the price, but council members Renny Knowlton, Barry Flitton and Joyce Brown, denied the meeting, asking Durbano to adhere to the previously agreed-to price, for a total cost of just more than $150,000.
City Manager Alex Jensen said the Elm Street property is not a liability, but rather property with value.
"This is a private entity coming to the city asking to give them property that benefits their project," Jensen said.
City Attorney Gary Crane, providing council with a summary of previous actions that have taken place between Fort Lane Village LLC and the city, said if council members adjust the asking price of $10 per square foot, they will need to justify it, because another private entity made an $8-per-square-foot-offer for the same property.
It may or may not be possible to build on that stretch of road, Crane said, but like any other property, the piece adds value to the developer's project. The road offers another access to the site for potential tenants, one of those being a WinCo Food Store.
Durbano said he is coming to the council with his hat in hand, but he's quick to remind the city that it is already reaping benefits from the proposed multimillion-dollar project.
Because old underground sewer and water lines in the area are made of clay, his group is making a $150,000 investment in the city's infrastructure to replace those lines, Durbano said.