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Developer wants to help Wasatch County preserve land in North Fields

Utah Open Lands
The North Fields is a nearly 3,000-acre low-density tract owned collectively by 118 land owners. It's located north of Heber City, west of Highway 40.

A potential buyer may help preserve open space near Heber City where a waterpark was supposed to be built.

At its Monday meeting, the Wasatch County Open Lands Board heard that the developer Extell has expressed interest in land north of Heber City. The parcel is 38 acres of open space in the North Fields west of U.S. Highway 40 at the River Road intersection.

“What we’re looking at is, I think we would help the county with their acquisition of it,” Extell Vice President of Development Kurt Krieg. “I don’t think we want to hold or control any portion of it, but I think that there’s an interest for the county to acquire and make that open space, and I think [Extell President Gary] Barnett would assist them with this.”

County Councilman Steve Farrell, who spoke to Barnett, told the board about the company’s interest. No action has been taken yet.

Another company, Granite Development, made a development agreement with the county to build a water park there in 2015. Plans for that project fell through.

According to Farrell, the county could offset the purchase price with money from a county-wide $10 million open space bond that passed in 2019.

In September, Wasatch County contributed $2 million to assist nonprofit Utah Open Lands in buying the 102-acre Kohler Farms property in Midway for preservation.

Extell is the owner of the Mayflower Resort under construction in Wasatch County about five miles down the road from the North Fields property.

The property is privately owned, and the open lands board didn’t discuss how the next steps would play out if a buyer moves forward with a purchase.

Also at the Monday meeting, Farrell and County Manager Dustin Grabau talked about the county buying land west of U.S. 40. Farrell says that would only happen if a bypass road is someday built around Heber City, as that would serve as an open buffer zone between the roads and city.

A studyby the Utah Department of Transportation is underway to determine how to alleviate traffic on the highway and in Heber City. UDOT says it could take another year or longer to determine whether to recommend a bypass road west or east of town.

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