HARRISVILLE — The old Ben Lomond Golf Course, which closed last year after a 62-year run, is being considered for residential development.
Ben Lomond Development LLC has a contract with the owners of the former privately owned 18-hole course to explore development of the 115-acre property. The old clubhouse is at 1800 N. U.S. 89 in Harrisville.
Rich Scadden, representing the development firm, said plans are in the early stages, with geotechnical and traffic studies underway.
He declined to give specifics because “right now we are really not far enough along. There are still too many variables about where we go.”
Eventual proposals may have “three or four facets,” Scadden said, adding, “We don’t know what is going to fit the property yet.”
Harrisville City Administrator Bill Morris said officials have discussed basic preferences with the developers.
“We’ve told them residential, maybe mixed use along the highway,” Morris said.
He said the residential development would help the city conform with Senate Bill 34, which the Legislature passed this year to promote construction of low-income dwellings to alleviate the state’s housing shortage.
In a March 19 meeting with city officials, Scadden and fellow developer Eric Thomas said they planned to provide an initial site plan in a few months and then submit a rough draft of a master development agreement with a phasing schedule.
According to the meeting minutes, Thomas said he would like to see commercial development along U.S. 89 and a mix of residential development through the rest of the property.
Scadden said in the meeting the development may include some townhomes but it would be focused mostly on 8,000-square-foot residential lots.
The developers would like a traffic light intersection to give access to the development off U.S. 89, and that may dovetail with the city’s master plan.
In an interview Wednesday, Morris said highway traffic volume still may be too low to justify a traffic light and commercial development there, although the Utah Department of Transportation will decide when to add a light.
Floodplain is another issue.
The golf course is on the federal flood zone map, “which is always a challenge,” Morris said.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the site is classified as an “area of minimal flood hazard.” It’s considered to be at risk of a 0.2 chance of flooding in any given year.
Flood zone designations can complicate mortgage lending and insurance.
More than a year ago, Ben Lomond’s owners asked the city whether the municipality wanted to buy the course, Morris said.
The city hired a consultant to assess the idea’s feasibility and the possible impact on taxpayers.
To acquire the course, the city would have to raise property taxes by $500 for the average home, the consultant estimated.
“Even though many people in the community love Ben Lomond, that would be beyond the ability for the taxpayer to absorb,” Morris said. “We told them we weren’t able to do that, even though we love the course and the open space.”
The owners then began looking for private developers.