HYRUM, Cache County It would be the largest development in Hyrum's history if it happens.
Logan-based Harbor View LLC wants to annex almost 1,000 acres southwest of Hyrum and build a resort-style village with an 18-hole golf course, a 500-room hotel and thousands of homes. The Hyrum Lake & Golf Park would include 12 parks, eight miles of biking, hiking and horse trails, a clubhouse-reception center and 120,000 square feet of office and retail space.
The developers hope to capitalize on the project's recreational amenities, including proximity to Hyrum Dam State Park, to lure buyers to upscale houses and condominiums. The proposed annexation and development would increase Hyrum's land area by more than one-third and possibly double the town's population of about 8,000.
But it remains to be seen whether the City Council will approve the annexation agreement. Hyrum officials have mixed feelings about the project.
Mayor Dean Howard acknowledges growth is inevitable but worries the project would not generate enough tax revenues to cover the city's costs of providing services. If the development doesn't pay its way, he said, the rest of Hyrum's residents would get stuck with the bill.
"A development like that shouldn't be a burden on the other citizens that are already here," Howard said.
Steve Baugh, Harbor View's managing partner, was reluctant to discuss the development because he said publicity could upset negotiations. But he did say he understands the city's concerns about the development's economic feasibility.
"That would be a concern to any project of this size," he said. "That's what we're addressing right now."
If Hyrum OKs the project, city officials figure it would generate $1.9 million in taxes, fees and other revenues in 2022, the year scheduled for completion. With city expenses estimated at $2.1 million, Hyrum would be out $251,675.
But a feasibility study funded by developers estimated city revenues at $2.5 million in 2022, which means the project would profit the city by $367,000.
Howard also fears Harbor View won't have enough money to finish the development. He said the annexation agreement would have to include the developers' financing arrangements and spell out how much they would pay for roads, water, sewer, law enforcement, fire protection and other services.
But Baugh said city officials needn't worry.
"We will be extremely financially solid to do the project," he said.
City Councilman Craig Rasmussen worries there won't be enough business to support a 500-room hotel. Nearby Logan already has hundreds of hotel rooms, with a 115-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott under construction.
"I don't think Cache County has enough demand for that," Rasmussen said.
The developers also want to count the golf course as open space, which would enable them to build homes closer together on the rest of the property. According to the feasibility study, Harbor View plans to build 3,056 homes, but the number could change if the city doesn't consider the golf course open space.
City Councilman Paul James said the 150-acre, public golf course is the key to the developers' plans to build the homes, so he wants the annexation agreement to require the links be built first. The city wants Harbor View to submit an annexation agreement for the entire project before the council votes. (For the developers' description of the project, see www.hyrumlakeandgolf.com)
"I want to guarantee the golf course is going to be there," James said. "If they could get the golf course in there, you would see some development there."
Like the mayor, James is ambivalent about the project, but he's leaning toward approval. He said property owners should be able to develop their land and the developers have assured him they can pay for the project.
"I think they've pretty well shown us they could come up with the finances," he said. "I think they deserve a fair shot."
Besides, James said, the developers are likely to pursue the project if Hyrum rejects the annexation. He said they could try to get Cache County to approve the development in the unincorporated area or even create a new city.
Baugh agreed the developers would press on if Hyrum doesn't approve the annexation proposal.
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