An area that once used to be the source of controversy near a 3,000-year-old native American village in Draper will soon have trains running past it at nearly 80 mph.
But before the trains arrive, the Draper City Council is trying to create a means to generate economic growth around the city’s new train station through a Community Development Area Plan (CDA).
The plan proposes that those who live or own property in the area surrounding the FrontRunner line at 12800 South Front Runner Blvd. (550 West) become part of the CDA to increase development and growth. The area would include an Ebay complex, commercial areas, dense residential buildings, walking and hiking trails. In 20 years, it is estimated to bring $1.2 million in proposed developmental value. The City Council presented an opt-in plan that would involve asking other tax entities, like school districts, property owners and the county to be a part of the CDA to help promote faster economic growth of the west end that wouldn’t require any bonding or loans for infrastructure.
One resident out of the eight that showed up for various items on the agenda said he wasn’t sure what to think about the plan.
"This is the first inkling I’ve got from Draper City as to what anyone is doing," he told the council. "We don’t know how to respond at this point. We don’t know what is going on."
Draper City Asst. City Manager David Dobbins, who presented the CDA, said it wouldn’t do anything to taxes to those living in the proposed area, but it may add future value to properties and help pay back the city quicker for the cost of putting in the rail line.
During the public comment period, Shawn Benjamin, a resident who lives in the area of the CDA, urged the council to take time to research "urban design principles" similar to those in Daybreak to make good use of the development and make the CDA worth it.
"I think it behooves the council to understand what goes into good urban design."
City Council member Alan Summerhays said it would be good to learn those development basics. He agreed to go out to Daybreak and learn from how they have done urban development.
Benjamin, a resident who lives east of the FrontRunner line, said after the public hearing he figured the zoning of the area where he lived eventually would bring denser housing or commercial property.
"It doesn’t bother me really," Benjamin said of having the CDA approved. "I have seen it coming."
He said the bigger question is whether or not a CDA should even be applied in a city and where.
Controversy came to a head about the location of the Draper FrontRunner line in 2010, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a cease work order to the Utah Transit Authority over concerns about dumping fill dirt near an adjacent archaeological Indian site.
UTA agreed to build its station and accompanying development farther north.
Transit officials have planned to have the 45-mile project between Salt Lake City and Provo ready to transport passengers on high-speed trains, ahead of schedule. After four years of construction, the new Provo to Salt Lake City FrontRunner line will begin hauling passengers on Dec. 10, including a new stop in Draper.
The line will also have eight new stations including: Murray, South Jordan, Draper/Bluffdale, Lehi, American Fork, Vineyard (to be added in the future), Orem and Provo.
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