LAYTON — Intermountain Healthcare announced plans Thursday to build a new hospital in Layton.

"I can't tell you how big or when," Tom Hanrahan, Intermountain's regional vice president, told the City Council in a work meeting, explaining the conceptual process is too early on.

However, Intermountain has 70 acres of land under contract, located just south of Gentile Street, west of I-15 and along Flint Street.

"It's a great piece of property," he said. The land has been known for years as the Olsen farm.

Intermountain's next step is a neighborhood meeting from 5 to 9 p.m. April 9 at Layton Elementary School to discuss the concept with area landowners. The organization has notified some 950 area residents about the meeting.

Ben Hart, Layton's Economic Development director, said Intermountain has been looking in Layton for the past year.

"This possibly represents great potential for Layton city," he said.

He believes it will be a catalyst to development in the area, help Layton's old downtown and bring many family-sustaining jobs to the city.

"We're excited it will optimize our commuter rail system," Hart said.

The new hospital will be located near the Layton Frontrunner rail station and also will be close to the city's new planned south interchange to I-15.

Hart said Intermountain will pursue a technical process to rezone the property prior to actually purchasing the land.

Traffic likely will be a major concern to area residents, and that discussion will be a part of the process.

Hanrahan said Intermountain selected Layton because north Davis County is one of the most underserved areas for hospitals in the area, and growth projections show a shortfall of hospital beds.

He said a study shows that 60 percent of hospital patients in north Davis County leave the county for their hospital stays. Thirty-five percent of those are for childbirth.

Other northern Utah counties have fewer residents leaving their county for hospital care.

The north end of the county also is projected to grow by another 110,000 residents by 2050.

Hanrahan said when Intermountain builds a hospital, it is there to stay. The organization currently operates 21 hospitals, including 20 in Utah. He said Intermountain is a nonprofit group with no shareholders or stockholders.

An adequate buffer zone is planned for the hospital site, he said, noting that Intermountain will spend a great deal of time planning the hospital and the site.

There is currently one hospital in Layton, Davis Hospital, located on the north end of the city. The new Intermountain hospital would be situated on the south end of Layton, not far from the Kaysville border.

The nearest Intermountain hospital to Layton is McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, some 12 or more miles from Layton.

Intermountain Healthcare was founded in 1975, with the LDS Hospital system being its forerunner.