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LOGAN — A proposed $20 million bond in Cache Valley would buy up open space there to preserve it.
The county council members are putting the proposal to a public vote in November. It wants to ensure some areas will remain open rather than be developed as the push to create housing for Utah's growing population turns open space into neighborhoods.
"We have beautiful farmlands. We have beautiful canyons and mountains, trails, parks; and we want to preserve what makes Cache Valley special," Cache County Executive David Zook said. "Everybody who lives here loves the open space."
Originally planned for a 2020 election ballot, the COVID-19 pandemic meant delays. If approved by voters, the field is relatively open, allowing applications or suggestions for areas that should be left undeveloped.
"We could buy the land outright and own the land completely or we can partner with a farmer and maybe we just buy their development rights and they could continue to farm it," Zook said. "The language of the bond will even say that this is only for voluntary participants. None of these funds are going to be used to take anybody's land.
The hope is the bond will give the county more control over how growth rolls forward — as long as they are willing to pay for it.
It is estimated that the bond will cost the average homeowner $2 to $3 a month and could take 20 years to pay off. County managers would also have the option to invest some of that money to stretch it further.