The most significant agreement Tuesday, between Weber County and Geneva Rock Products for almost $7.7 million, allows for expansion and paving of a private dirt road that heads eastward at the top of the mountain. County Engineer Jared Anderson said the contract covers roadway construction, utilities, infrastructure and three bridges.
The private road, accessed off Powder Mountain road that winds its way from Eden upward to the ski resort, will become public when the seven-mile stretch is complete.
"The road really is the first step to allow the development to move forward," said Commissioner Jan Zogmaister.
The planned 60- to 66-foot wide right of way will feed into future subdivisions that are part of the project's first 154-unit phase that includes single-family homes and clustered condominiums.
In total, Summit plans to build eight phases on about 1,700 acres over 15 to 20 years, said Weber County Economic Development Director Douglas Larsen.
Subsequent phases are slated to include more housing, hotels, small event centers, restaurants, and potential science centers and laboratories that tie directly to Summit Series events that attract change-makers from throughout the world, Larsen said.
Powder Mountain Road is currently the sole access to the ski resort at about 9,000 feet elevation, and during harsh winter conditions can be treacherous. The development agreement promises installation of a second access road as the various phases progress, Larsen said.
County commissioners recently OK'd a multi-million special assessment bond to be paid by future residents in the Summit development area that will fund the road, water, sewer and other essential groundwork.
According to Weber County Chief Civil Deputy Attorney David Wilson, those bonds have not been issued yet, so the developer agreed to deposit $2 million in escrow to cover the first two months of work this summer. That money will be reimbursed with interest when the bonds materialize, Wilson said.
"The (2002 Winter) Olympics put us on the map and quite a bit of growth came from that exposure," Zogmaister said. "Possibly this is the next event it's bringing in a lot of people from outside the area and I'm sure it will have an impact."
Larsen praised Summit's approach and vision.
"We like this development because they recognize the environment and have no intent of fully consuming the real estate at the top of the mountain," Larsen said. "They realize the value in the open space up there. Once it disappears you can't get it back."