The city Planning Commission gave conceptual approval, but not a conditional use permit, to the county's proposal to build a new jail and court complex west of I-15.
The Planning Commission members told the Davis County Commission they basically like the proposal but the county's application for a conditional use permit is incomplete.There are no final landscaping, grade, utility or drainage maps in the application, Farmington City Planner Bob Scott said.
The 100 acres west of I-15 where the county plans to construct the complex is zoned residential, and a conditional use permit is required by city ordinances to construct a public building in that zone.
The conditional use permit and final site plan approval are necessary before the city will issue a building permit for the jail's construction.
The Planning Commission at one point considered approving the conditional use permit subject to final agreement being reached between the city planning staff and the county on the unresolved issues.
But Scott objected, saying he wants a clear direction from the Planning Commission before going into negotiations with the county.
The county has agreed to extend a city water line from I-15 to the jail site and to pay for installation of a sewer line, in addition to landscaping and other buffer stipulations.
But the details of how the utility lines will be installed and the extent of the landscaping have not been resolved and could mean as much as $1 million in additional construction costs.
Construction of the jail and court complex is the first major development in the semirural west Farmington area, which has no city water or sewer.
Farmington wants the water and sewer lines that will be installed constructed to serve as many homes as possible, saying the jail will be the catalyst that opens the area to development.
Running the water line to the county property will cost up to $75,000, according to construction manager Joe Rhoads, who estimated installing sewer lines could cost between $350,000 and $750,000, depending on which configuration is approved.
While the county is willing to pay its share of those costs, Rhoads said, it cannot afford to pay the whole bill. Farmington also is asking for development of Farmington Creek, along the site's east boundary, into a park, which Rhoads said will push the cost even higher.
Rhoads found himself in a difficult position at the meeting Thursday. He is a member of the Planning Commission but also the construction manager for the $18 million jail project.
Although he excused himself from the discussion as a commissioner, he found himself in conflict as the county's representative with the commission and Scott on several issues.
Scott said city ordinances require that applications for a conditional use permit and site plan approval be complete, including landscaping, parking and other details.
But Rhoads, who as a city Planning Commission member is charged with enforcing the ordinances, maintained they are unreasonable.
The ordinances require a developer to put too much money into drawing a detailed site plan for a project before getting a conditional use permit - in effect before knowing if the project will even be allowed in an area, Rhoads said.
Scott agreed the ordinances may be too strict but said they are on the books and compliance is required. And, he said, requiring a complete site plan before granting a conditional use permit protects the city from developers coming in, getting a conditional use permit with only a general outline of what they are proposing, then returning with an unacceptable site plan.
After more than an hour of discussion, the county agreed to temporarily withdraw its application for a conditional use permit and submit a complete application.
In return, Planning Commission members gave the project conceptual approval, saying they agree with the broad outline of what they've seen but want more detailed information before granting formal approval.