IVINS – Ivins City Council has narrowly approved the creation of a special tax district for the Black Desert Resort, which is currently under construction in Entrada. The move, approved by 3-2 votes at the council meeting on Thursday evening at Ivins Town Hall, paves the way for the city to issue a bond on the resort, which will be paid through additional property taxes paid only by residents of the new Resorts are charged.
File photo of the construction site of the Black Desert Resort in Entrada along Snow Canyon Road in Ivins City, Utah. March 31, 2021 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News
A public infrastructure district is established through the vote. This creates additional property taxes specifically for those living at the resort that are used to pay off a bond issued by the city.
The vote came after about an hour of public comment and debate and was the culmination of discussions that have taken place in Council meetings since then last November.
Back on April 15th, the council State aid bid rejected with 3-2 votes through the resort by creating a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA). That move would have resulted in the city raising $ 5 million through tax breaks and property taxes payable by residents of the new resort.
Attorney Randy Larsen, who advised the council on public aid to the resort, told members during the meeting that the difference between the approved PID and the disapproved CRA is whether it uses existing taxes or introduces new taxes.
“CRA is a reallocation of property taxes while a PID is a new tax,” Larsen told the council. “This is not a redistribution.”
Ultimately, residents of the new resort will be charged an additional $ 2,750 property tax for every $ 500,000 worth of their property. Mayor Chris Hart and others previously advised that no resident outside of the resort will pay additional property taxes.
The new neighborhood creation documents didn’t say how much the city’s loan to the development will ultimately be, but when the PID was first proposed in November, developers called for a $ 34 million loan.
Representation from 2020 of part of the planned parking garage for the Black Desert Resort in Entrada. Ivins City, Utah | Photo courtesy of Black Desert Resort in Entrada, St. George News
City manager and attorney Dale Coulam said he was satisfied with the end result of months of negotiations.
“We feel we have negotiated in a good place,” said Coulam during the meeting.
Council members asked several clarifying questions and also went line by line to make changes to the language the PID was establishing. Member Sue Gordhammer, who with other members Dennis Mehr and Cheyne McDonald had one of three votes against the previous CRA proposal, was particularly aware that she had read the language that formed the new district well. “This is a big deal for the city,” said Gordhammer.
Gordhammer finally voted together with the members Jenny Johnson and Derek Larsen for the establishment of the PID. McDonald and More reiterated their no-votes for public support, although McDonald told St. George News that his no was not so much about public support as it was about developments in general during the drought.
“A big part of my concern is water,” said McDonald. “That will take a lot of water.”
From the outset, more made no secret of his opposition to the creation of a public funding apparatus and did the same during the meeting.
“As you know, I wasn’t a fan to begin with,” Mehr said, although he gave the council a thumbs up that at least made sure it carefully checked the language the PGD was creating before you approve it. “I suspect that it would go forward. I just want to make sure it’s done right for the Ivins people. ”
Such public funds have been used in neighboring cities such as St. George and Washington City, but it is new to Ivins.
Resident Mike Scott speaks to Ivins City Council during the council meeting on July 15, 2021 at Ivins Town Hall. Ivins, Utah | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News
The resort on Snow Canyon Parkway will be built on the city line with St. George adjacent to Entrada Resort, which was built by the same developer, Enlaw LLC. The Black Desert project focuses on 150 hotel rooms and up to 302 condominiums, which were built around a 19-hole golf course, some of which was designed by professional golfer Tom Weiskopf. There is also a “culinary square” with restaurants that are also intended for locals, as well as a nature center and hiking trails.
The developer has asked the city for financial support to create an underground car park that would create more space for the restaurant space and the meeting area.
According to a report from the city’s public works department, the golf course on the property is now 50% complete, with final assessments being made for some holes and the driving range.
During the public comment session, a resident, Mike Scott, spoke and raised concerns.
“I am concerned about PGD because of the potential risk to homeowners,” said Scott, who ran as a candidate for the council in this year’s election. He added that PIDs are usually reserved for poorer areas in need of development. “If this was a tainted area it might be worth taking risks, but it’s not.”
A civics lesson
The meeting turned out to be a civic lesson in how the government works, as council members apparently went line by line over three items on the agenda to resolve differences over language and compromise. While four votes on the agenda appeared to be less than usual on the surface, the meeting started at 5.30 p.m. and lasted until 9.45 p.m.
Cheyne McDonald, member of Ivins City Council, during the council meeting on July 15, 2021 at Ivins City Hall. Ivins, Utah | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News
In addition to approving the PID for the Black Desert Resort, the council spent an hour completing the final language of a new lighting ordinance that has been discussed in the last eight meetings since March 18.
The council also approved an amendment to the city law that now allows houses in no more than half an acre to have a garage occupy up to 60% of the total area and 55% of the facade of a house in the city.
The debate about the size of the percentages, the look of the garages to the size of the garage doors took an hour and a half of the session and left some in the council chamber about the long process and the mayor singing “A Miracle of Miracles” from “Fiddler on the Roof “At the end when a compromise was reached between the councilors.
McDonald noticed the grumbling but with a smile on his face exclaimed how much he loved the process.
“It doesn’t always go our own way. There is a process and it works, ”said McDonald. “Sometimes people have very strong positions and it’s still about compromising and balancing.”
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.
Chris Reed is the weekend editor and reporter for St. George News. After growing up among the Valley Girls in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley, he steadily moved east. He graduated from Cal State Northridge before spending a decade in Las Vegas. As a sports reporter and editor, he once compared shoe sizes with Shaq. As a news reporter and editor, he has covered parades, triumphs and tragedies. He also got close to the stars once when he was promoting a manufacturer of space modules. He came to St. George out of love and loved the community. He is the proud father of two boys; his youngest is a master against autism and type 1 diabetes.