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Wasatch County to discuss infrastructure plans for developments east of Jordanelle

A conceptual rendering shows the rough approximate future look of the Black Rock Mountain Resort, with Deer Valley ski hills in the background.
Heber Valley Chamber
A conceptual rendering shows the rough approximate future look of the Black Rock Mountain Resort. The developer has applied to create a public infrastructure district for the resort.

The Wasatch County Council is considering whether to allow public infrastructure districts, or PIDs, for two new development projects east of the Jordanelle Reservoir.

The developer for Black Rock Mountain Resort and Wakara Ridge has asked the county council to authorize public infrastructure districts to build utilities in the new neighborhoods.

PIDs are a relatively new mechanism for governments to permit bonds to pay for infrastructure in a way that benefits developers and minimizes liability for the local government.

The bonds are then repaid by levying property taxes or special assessment fees in the project area, meaning residents could be charged extra fees to cover the debt.

In April, Wasatch County loosened its requirements for which projects are eligible to apply for PIDs, in large part so developments in the Jordanelle Basin can use the funding mechanism.

County manager Dustin Grabau said PIDs financially benefit most taxpayers, since the debt only applies to properties within the district, but they limit county oversight because they’re independent entities.

“The county loses any ability to influence it, which is part of why we feel like it’s important for us to be at the table on the creation process,” he said. “Those governing documents set the guardrails of what they’re allowed to do and what the role of that public infrastructure district is.”

Two potential new PIDs are on the county council agenda for Wednesday, June 26.

For the Black Rock Mountain Resort, developer Jovid Mark, LLC, has asked to create an infrastructure district that will issue over $14 million in debt. It will be repaid with an extra 1% in property taxes.

If approved, the funding will be used for retaining walls, water infrastructure, street and parking improvements and the resort’s event center.

The resort is located on about 12 acres at 909 W. Peace Tree Trail off state Route 248, just north of Hideout. It will have 200 condo hotel units, a 145,000-square-foot event center, and an NHL-sized hockey arena when complete.

The same developer also submitted a PID application for Wakara Ridge, which has yet to be built.

The district will issue close to $25 million in debt, to be repaid with special assessments when properties are sold. It would use the money for retaining walls, water infrastructure and street improvements.

Wakara Ridge is comprised of 180 acres east of Tuhaye and north of the Jordanelle Reservoir. When complete, the developer plans to build 130 single-family homes, 46 cottage homes and a clubhouse.

Grabau said buyers in both developments will be given extra information about purchasing property within a PID.

“Some of the requirements that the county has in the governing documents is enhanced disclosure to future owners,” he said. “Anybody who is purchasing those projects is fully informed of what they’re getting into.”

The county council meeting begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday. More details about the proposed public infrastructure districts can be found in the agenda packet.

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