By JOHN PITT
When property lines, zoning restrictions, and a sluggish economy crisscross to thwart economic progress, it may be a simple change of attitude that begins to break down obstacles. That is the hope of a group of developers, real estate agents, and city officials who met recently to jump start development of the Pages Lane Corridor on the Bountiful-Centerville border.
For the past four years, residents and employees at Bountiful’s Village on Main Street have looked across the street at a vacant gas station and a weedy parking lot. “It’s been empty as long as we’ve been here and for several years before that,” said David Kocherhans, vice president of International Development Group (IDG) which owns the development on the southwest corner of Pages Lane and Main Street.
The prolonged vacancy and resulting deterioration are frustrating for Kocherhans and other developers who are seeking to attract new and vibrant businesses to serve the hundreds of families living in the village and other first-rate complexes in the vicinity. Growing frustration over delayed development of the area led IDG President Steven Terry to invite individuals with interest in the Pages Lane Corridor to a meeting at his business.
Nine organizations and agencies were represented at the meeting, which focused first on the northwest corner of the property. They agreed it is the gateway to the rest of the district and could be the first site to be re-opened.
Ironically, participants discovered it was not a lack of business that closed the previous convenience store in the first place. According to several attendees, it was an ongoing dispute between the multiple business interests that owned portions of the property. As the discussion progressed, developers asked Centerville City to strongly encourage the multiple owners of the corner to reach a cooperative agreement that would allow the property to be used for a single viable business.
The group next discussed various additional impediments to short-term redevelopment of the area. These included; Centerville’s high-retail zoning requirements that will be evoked if new businesses spend more than $50,000 to remodel the now empty buildings, and the difficulty of reaching consensus among so many property owners for a single look and direction for development.
Ultimately, the participants agreed that simply meeting together was an important first step toward revitalizing the corridor. They also agreed that establishing an attitude of cooperation would make the difficult work of economic development progress more quickly. Citizens interested in encouraging responsible development revitalization on Pages Lane should contact Centerville City Community Development Department at 801-292-8232, as well as the real estate agents whose signs are posted on the vacant buildings.