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Proposed land swap causes stir among Bountiful residents

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Posted at 10:23 PM, Oct 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-27 08:54:45-04

BOUNTIFUL, Utah -- A proposed land swap in Bountiful has started a heated debate within the city.

A developer is asking the city to support a proposal that would trade private land with a pristine piece of property owned by the U.S. Forest Service. However, residents want nothing to do with the plan.

“To take this property and trade it away from the forest service to them is an unfair thing to the citizens,” said Earl Thomas, who lives across the street from Twin Hollow Park.

In this story

  • Public Hearing during Bountiful City Council
  • When: Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Bountiful City Hall, 790 S. 100 East

The park is at the base of approximately 156 acres of U.S. Forest Service land. The majority of the land is used for recreating, while a portion of it is leased to the Bountiful Lions Club Rifle Ranges.

Under the proposal, the developer would allow the club to keep its land, but the rest would be shared between housing and open space.

“This is one of the last places in Bountiful where middle class home and middle class families have access to open space,” said resident Andrea Edwards.

Within the last month, the city received a letter from JLD Development asking officials to support the plan. In order to accomplish a trade, it must either go through a process with the U.S. Forest Service, or garner support in congress. However, neither are likely without city support.

“I have no intention on intruding on anything there that is sacred to them,” said Jaren Davis, owner of the development group.

According to Davis, the housing would only be built on approximately 56 acres of the land, allotting for 100 to 150 houses.

“We can perform some critical land conservation,” Davis said. “We leave over 100 acres in additional open space for the public to use.”

Tuesday night, the city council will take public comment on the plan to gauge support. Without it, Davis does not plan to move forward with the project and would instead develop on the 160 acres that currently belongs to the private owner.

“Some of the incentives that are being suggested by the property owner are tax revenues, permanent preservation of open space. Whether or not those are really quality decisions is for debate,” said city manager Gary Hill.

Tuesday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Bountiful City Hall.