DON WOOD, former mayor of Clearfield, addresses the Davis School Board about the city’s plan for Clearfield Station. Photo by Louise R. Shaw | Davis Clipper
FARMINGTON - With only one dissenting vote, Davis School Board adopted a resolution in support of a large redevelopment project at Clearfield's FrontRunner station.
"We need this project very much," said Tamara Lowe, board president, as she cast the last of six votes in favor of the interlocal agreement between Clearfield City and the Davis School District. The vote was taken at the board's regularly scheduled meeting Jan. 21.
The agreement will allow new tax dollars generated by the project to go into infrastructure projects and a parking structure related to its development for a set period of time.
Lowe pointed out that no money is coming to the district from the land now, land which is largely a parking lot owned by Utah Transit Authority.
"Starting as soon as something's there," said Lowe, "though it won't be a lot at first, for every single penny we get, students in Davis School District will benefit."
She spoke of the supportive relationship between the city and the school district, including sharing gym and pool space as needed over the years, and she emphasized the need for school district support of the city and the project it has been working for 10 years to refine.
Because 75 percent of new property taxes generated by the development will go into the project in three phases of 20-years each for a maximum of 35 years, taxing entities in the area must each be approached to sign off on the proposal.
A mixed-use development is planned at the site, at approximately 450 S. State. It will include multi-family residential, light industrial, office space and some retail, according to J.J. Allen, assistant city manager.
UTA currently owns 70 acres that will be used for the project. Another 56 acres in and around that land will be included in the development.
While UTA's plan initially was to fill it entirely with multi-family residential as a way to increase ridership, city leaders negotiated a plan with fewer homes and more business and industrial space.
"This meets the needs of UTA, but also meets the needs of Clearfield City," said Allen. "One of our major objectives is to promote new jobs for the area. We expect almost 1,000 new jobs will be brought in. We think that's a great component."
School board members are working with city leaders to determine if a five-acre parcel reserved for community or civic space would be best used for a school or community center. Though developers initially suggested a charter school for the space, board members expressed a strong desire to be involved if a school is needed in the area.
School board member Peter Cannon was the lone vote in opposition to the agreement.
"In this case I feel my arm is being twisted by a federal government," said Cannon. "We're being held hostage by a federal government that wants to force the people into small enclaves. If we don't stand up as citizens, we deserve what we get."
Citizens are being driven like sheep, he said, and need to stand up rather than do whatever the "pharaoh" tells them like slaves.
Other board members expressed support of the project.
"I disagree that the federal government is involved," said David Lovato. "This is a solid project. I think it's what Davis County needs and what Clearfield needs."
Burke Larsen, after saying it was the most difficult community development agency project he's been asked to support, said he was comfortable voting for it after hearing at an earlier workshop about the history of the project and the need for it. Former mayor Don Wood had spoken to the board about 10 years of work and negotiations and three different developers the city had been involved with to make it happen.
Clearfield City and Davis County have already approved interlocal agreements related to the project. All other taxing entitles, including the county libraries and the mosquito abatement district, must also determine whether or not to enter into similar agreements. The school district has the largest share of property tax revenue, so the board's decision had a significant impact on the future of the project.