Developers are asking Farmington officials to ease off on financial assessments and site improvements on a shopping center they want to build on the northwest corner of U.S. 89 and Shepard Lane.
The assessments and improvement stipulations will make the proj-ect too expensive and could jeopardize a Nov. 1, 1991, opening of the center's major tenant, a K mart store, the developers contend.The planning commission approved a conditional use permit for the proposed store on eight acres but added a long list of landscaping, architectural and site plan requirements, including fencing and a frontage road.
And the city is asking for a $38,000 assessment, in addition to the usual hookup and building fees, to help pay for the stoplight installed last year at the intersection.
Scott Kjar, an attorney and partner in Sky Properties, said his firm is negotiating the sale of the land for owner Bill Rigby. He asked that the $38,000 assessment be lifted.
The assessment reduces the land's marketability, Kjar told the council. It is also unfair because it isn't assessed on all the corner properties, just the ones coming up for development, he said.
The stoplight solved a dangerous intersection problem and benefits everyone who drives through it, Kjar said, reasoning that the city should pick up the cost as a public safety improvement.
Jim Talbot represents Sessions Management, the firm negotiating the development contract with K mart. Talbot asked that off-site improvement costs be paid by the city instead of by the developer.
Those costs include upgrading water and sewer lines, storm drains, and other physical improvements. Talbot also asked that a frontage road separating the shopping center from adjacent residential areas be put on hold until plans for improving U.S. 89 are finalized.
Talbot said the 86,000-square foot K mart store will do between $15 million and $20 million in retail sales annually, generating sales tax revenue for the city of $150,000 to $200,000.
The improvements mandated by the city jeopardize the center's construction, Talbot said, adding the cost, if paid by the city, could be made up in a few years out of the sales tax revenue generated.
Holding up the development while the two sides negotiate also endangers the project, Talbot said, because K mart is stipulating the store must be open by Nov. 1 of next year and construction can't start until spring.
"With these issues facing us and without receiving assistance from the city regarding these off site improvements and frontage road, we find ourselves in a precarious position of jeopardizing the development of this shopping center," Talbot wrote in a letter to the city.
The council heard both appeals, appointing its capital improvements committee to work with Kjar and tabling Talbot's request for further consideration.
In a related development, the city's planning commission also granted a conditional use permit for construction of a convenience store and gas station on the southeast corner of U.S. 89 and Shepard Lane, across from the proposed K mart.
The permit was approved for a Maverick Store on the site, with numerous stipulations covering access, landscaping, setbacks, and architectural requirements added. The store front will be required to have a stone facing to match other commercial and residential buildings in Farmington.