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Draper council votes to 'surplus' 217 acres, opening land for potential development

Draper council votes to 'surplus' 217 acres, opening land for potential development

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DRAPER — Draper city council members on Tuesday approved a resolution that will see 217 acres of land on Draper’s south side declared as surplus.

The land, known as Deer Ridge, is located southwest of the Suncrest development in Draper. At a meeting Tuesday evening, city council members approved the resolution in a 4-1 vote, with council member Michele Weeks voting against, according to City Manager David Dobbins.

Council members approved the resolution with some conditions, including that any future developments at Deer Ridge should include no more than 30 lots, with a minimum half-acre lot size, Dobbins said.

Now, city officials will open Deer Ridge to the developing community to see if there is any interest in developing the parcel, Dobbins said.

“There’s no commitment for (council members) to sell it,” he said of Deer Ridge. “At this point, it’s just to see what interest there is and ... what kind of development could happen and what a developer would be willing to pay under those terms.”

Any development proposals that meet the criteria the council set would be brought back before council members for further review, Dobbins said.

Tuesday’s council meeting included a public hearing during which most people who spoke were in favor of keeping Deer Ridge preserved, Dobbins said. Some who spoke said that if the land were to be sold, they would like to see a more limited scope for the development, he added.

A petition to keep Deer Ridge undeveloped and protected had more than 1,400 signatures as of Wednesday evening. The petition notes that the area is used by hikers, mountain bikers and families, and it’s a large off-leash dog area.

Building homes on the land would have significant impacts on traffic, fire safety, water and wildlife, the petition page says.

A “Protect Deer Ridge” website also was set up for the preservation effort.

Half-acre lots would be relatively large for the area around Deer Ridge, which features a range of different developments, from larger lots to smaller townhomes, Dobbins said.

Though Deer Ridge is undeveloped, there is a gravel road that goes through the area, Dobbins said. The city has extended utilities along the road, he added.

The terrain of the land is varied and includes some flat areas and some steep areas. Some parts of the land still have native, natural vegetation, Dobbins said.

He also noted that the council approved a conservation easement for about 2,900 acres near the Suncrest area that will be preserved. Deer Ridge isn’t included in that easement. The city previously preserved another 1,100 acres in another conservation easement, Dobbins said.

If the city doesn’t receive a development proposal that meets the criteria the city council set for building at Deer Ridge, the land will likely end up being used for trails, mountain biking and off-leash dog areas, Dobbins said.

“We have a strong vision for open space and trails and uses like that,” he said.

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