Layton redevelopment plans at mobile home park site still not in sharp focus
LAYTON — One thing’s clear — the residents of Cedarwood Mobile Home Park in Layton will eventually have to depart to make way for a new development, with the first wave to be out by March 1 next year.
Less clear, though, is exactly what sort of development the owner of the property, a Provo-based entity called Boulder Ranch, plans to put in its stead. Boulder Ranch has talked about building apartments on the vacant lot just north of Cedarwood, property it also owns. Beyond that, the business — owner of 14.8 acres in all in the zone along with affiliated companies — still hasn’t publicly offered a grander vision of its development proposal.
“I’m not sure exactly what’s going to end up here,” said Nikkole Malan, a Cedarwood resident who has closely followed the plans and, like many, expressed concern over her future housing options. She lives in one of 15 units that have to be emptied by March 1 so the first phase of Boulder Ranch’s development plans can go forward. Departure of the residents in the 55 or so other units, per an announcement earlier this month, comes later.
The area has MU/TOD zoning, short for multi-unit/transit-oriented development, according to Chad Wilkinson, Layton’s community and economic development director. That would allow for apartment buildings and certain commercial operations, consistent with other nearby developments along Main Street.
It’s also inside Layton’s South Main/South Fort Lane Redevelopment Area that runs along Main Street and Interstate 15 north and south of Gentile Street, an area earmarked by the city for redevelopment. The Utah Transit Authority‘s Layton FrontRunner Station sits just to the west.
However, Wilkinson said Boulder Ranch still hasn’t completed an application outlining its plans, which would then be subject to review by city planners and available for public inspection.
At the same time, UTA has no direct hand in planning and development in the area, unlike the more-active role it’s taking in development around FrontRunner stations in Clearfield and Ogden. “UTA has not engaged a formal station area planning process at this particular station, and has not established a vision for how properties near and/or adjacent to the Layton FrontRunner Station may be developed,” UTA spokesman Carl Arky said in a statement to the Standard-Examiner.
That said, the agency supports development that takes into account the presence of the FrontRunner station. Around other stations, UTA has sought higher-density development like apartments and townhomes, in part to create a pool of people who will use the commuter rail line to get to and from work, bolstering ridership.
“There are several exciting development opportunities, both to the east and west of the Layton FrontRunner Station. UTA hopes these opportunities are pursued in ways that create strong connections between land uses and transit services, and in ways that allow people to maintain a car-free lifestyle,” Arky said.
When a plan does emerge, Wilkinson said Layton could partner with Boulder Ranch, potentially providing tax-increment financing — part of the property tax revenue generated by the growth in value of the property — to aid with development.
Reps from Boulder Ranch didn’t respond to a query seeking comment. Whatever the case, it and its affiliated entities, North Utah Holdings and Winkel 7 LLC, own the bulk of land in a swath bounded by Main Street and I-15 to the east and west and Gentile Street and Layton Parkway to the north and south, 14.8 acres in all.
Through it all as development plans have slowly emerged, Cedarwood residents like Malan have stood by jittery, worried they won’t be able to find affordable housing when forced to leave.
Many have invested lots of money in their mobile homes and “now they stand to lose everything,” said Louise Brown, a Layton resident who has advocated for Cedarwood tenants though she doesn’t live there. Many of the mobile homes are older than 1976, meaning, by law, they can’t be moved to another location.
Michael McConkie has been hired by Boulder Ranch, operated by McKay Winkel, to work with the residents as development plans proceed. He said he has started outreach. “I’m going to talk to them, understand their situation, take questions,” he said.
What sort of aid Boulder Ranch may offer residents forced to leave, though, remains to be seen. “We’ll have to kind of assess all of these things individually,”McConkie said.