ROY — Aiming for business development in Roy, city leaders are weighing creation of three new special districts that would allow public funds to be used within each for redevelopment efforts.

The process is just starting, but a developer has expressed preliminary interest in using the site that used to house Planet Fitness, inside one of the three proposed community reinvestment areas, or CRAs, as they’re known. That, in part, spurred the talk of the new CRAs, which would join two existing special business districts in Roy that are nearing the end of their life span.

The topic most recently came up for deliberation at a meeting last Tuesday of the Roy Redevelopment Agency Board, made up of Roy City Council members and the Roy mayor. It first emerged publicly at a March 19 meeting of the RDA board.

The unnamed developer is potentially interested in tearing down the old Planet Fitness building on the northwest corner of 5600 South and 1900 West to construct something new, Randy Sant, an advisor to the city on the issue told board members in March. “But they’re interested in more than just that one parcel, they would like to extend that and look at a bigger area,” he added at last Tuesday’s meeting, which factored in talk of a more expansive CRA.

CRAs tap property tax revenue generated by new development and funnel it to redevelopment initiatives within their boundaries. Such funding — which would otherwise go to the city government, county government, school districts and other taxing entities — can serve as an incentive to would-be developers.

A second CRA would sit on the east side of 1900 West, east of the proposed CRA around the old Planet Fitness structure, extending northeasterly in an area now housing a series of storage facilities. Though those two CRAs would be adjacent, they might develop at different times.

The third CRA would encompass the Utah Transit Authority FrontRunner station in Roy and undeveloped land extending either direction along the rail line there. “We think that that has some opportunity for development. And we also know that in other areas where UTA has had properties and they want to develop it, normally a developer will ask for tax increment incentives,” Sant said.

Roy Mayor Bob Dandoy has made business growth and economic development a priority, and the CRA plans fit that vision. “The city’s just wanting to do something to spur growth there in those locations,” he said.

With just two existing redevelopment districts, though, Roy lags far behind Ogden. Ogden is home to 19 special redevelopment districts, with three more in the works.

Launching the new CRAs could take four to eight months, according to Sant. As part of the process, Roy officials would have to secure support from the Weber School District and Weber County because of the property tax funds that would be funneled from the tax entities to the redevelopment districts.

The RDA board last Tuesday took up three resolutions to create the three CRAs, but tabled action because not all board members were present. The topic will likely come up in May.

“We’re talking about literally, these could run 20 some odd years,” Dandoy said, alluding to the lifespan of the CRAs. “We felt that all the board really ought to be part of this process.”

The CRA around the Planet Fitness would probably be the first to develop, Sant told the RDA board last Tuesday.

Per state rules governing CRAs, the city would not have the power of eminent domain within the confines of the proposed districts. Moreover, precise boundaries for each would have to be determined, according to Sant. He said the city could lend funds from one of the two existing reinvestment areas to serve as seed money in launching the new CRAs.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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