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New tie to past scandal delays UTA approval of controversial land deal

First Published      Last Updated May 22 2017 02:46 pm

Rail station » Transit agency finds out that developer is former board member who resigned under fire.
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He said last week that losing much of the land at Clearfield for the Stadler plant would be like losing old-growth forest. "It's not replaceable."

But Mayor Shepherd told the board that after years of ambitious proposals that came to nothing, Stadler is the only feasible project on the horizon — and his city views it as crucial to boost its economy and revitalize rundown areas nearby.

Stadler needs to have a plant in place by next year to fill orders, Shepherd said, and had sought at least conditional approval of plans on Wednesday to get started.

Now, the board said it plans to take time to vet Killpack's involvement, have a public meeting on the proposal in Clearfield on May 10 — and revisit the transaction at its next full board meeting on May 24.

Some board members raised concerns that Clearfield has proposed to buy the land for half of what UTA appraisals say it is worth. But UTA and Clearfield have agreed to conduct another appraisal to try to narrow the difference.

Board member Brent Taylor also questioned why UTA is not taking open bids for any sale of the Clearfield property. Blakesley said that would be required if the sale were to a private entity — such as Stadler itself — but is not required when the sale is to another governmental entity.

Taylor said bidding would help ensure getting the best price possible for UTA.

Also, several board members called for UTA to review whether it should be involved in TODs in the future, or exit such land developments because of the controversy they have generated.

"Maybe we ought to re-look at whether the agency should be in the development business to begin with," said board member P. Bret Millburn, who is also a Davis County commissioner. He adds local communities should likely be the ones to oversee such developments.