FARR WEST -- Council members voted unanimously to accept an easement from Remuda Golf Course that will basically guarantee the property will not be subdivided for homes to be built on.
Jim Aland, who owns the Remuda Golf Course, said there could easily be 264 half-acre building lots on the property, and the city having it as an easement instead will prevent Remuda Golf Course from being subdivided.
"I'm not making money at this, so I'm not coming in and getting approval for a certain amount of lots," said Aland. "You are receiving this because that easement is a benefit to the citizens of the United States, the city of Farr West ... the residents of the city and surrounding property owners."
Aland said the highest and most profitable use of the land would be more housing, but he has said Utah does not need more cookie-cutter lots.
Councilwoman Ava Painter asked about how property taxes would be affected.
Aland said an assessor would remove the rate for the highest and best use of the property, housing, and then whatever the property is worth would be generated by the revenues of the golf course. He said if it were returned to pasture land it would be even less valuable.
"Other than that, it's open space, even if (the golf course) failed, it's still going to be open space," said Aland.
City Attorney Ryan Shaw said he has looked over the documentation on the easement and said the city will not be incurring a lot of unknowing responsibility by approving the easement. He also said the city cannot guarantee a reduction in property taxes, and the easement can be released at any time.
"If it becomes unprofitable the easement can be released," said Shaw.
"If he defaults, for instance, on the golf course, he can't financially run it, he has the option to come to us?" asked Councilman Tim Shupe.
"Because we are accepting the easement, it does not mean we are left running the golf course," said Shaw.
The council acceptance of the easement is still subject to the city's approval of an appraisal of the property and a recommendation from Weber County that the description of the property is accurate.
"He is offering the city an easement that guarantees the golf course isn't going to be turned into housing tomorrow," said Shupe.