…SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Is it true that Grapevine needs the Town of Leeds to use eminent domain to take private property, including the Stirling Farm, to accomplish its development plans?
This is not true. There is no need for the Town to use eminent domain for the Grapevine project to succeed. The mention of eminent domain that appeared in an early draft of the development agreement has been deleted. In regard to the Stirling property, we would direct people to our original Master Plan posted on www.grapevinewash.com. You will see that we had not contemplated the existence of any road in that location. The discussion of a road in that location stems from the fact that the Town of Leeds Master Plan for Roads includes such a road and we are required to connect to the Town’s planned roads.
2. Is it true that Grapevine plans to build low income housing as part of its development? Will the development include attached homes and condominiums?
There are no plans to build low income housing in Grapevine. It is in our interest to build properties of only the highest quality to maximize property values and bring stable residents to the community. Grapevine is a long term project that will take many years to actualize, so we have every incentive to make sure only high quality properties that add value to the project are built.
It is true that the project contemplates attached homes and condominiums. These units will, however, be of a character and quality reflective of the overall vision for the development. They will not be low income housing, but will provide a rich variety of property types that would appeal to a broad cross section of the community. We encourage you to flip through the entire Pattern Book for a sense of what is contemplated in terms of architecture, design and materials.
3. Is it true that Grapevine exerted improper or illegal influence over Leeds town officials to extract concessions and approvals for the development?
As we have stated numerous times in public meetings, any assertions that we exerted improper influence over public officials in connection with the Grapevine project are wholly false and defamatory. We will defend ourselves vigorously against any such statements and reserve all our legal rights in this regard.
4. Is it true that costs associated with the Grapevine development will be pushed on to the town and its residents?
All costs associated with the Grapevine development will be borne by us, NOT the Town of Leeds or its residents. Furthermore, we will be required to compensate the Town for impacts pursuant to Utah State law. There seems to be a concern that Grapevine will build a large network of infrastructure and fail economically, leaving the Town with the burden of the abandoned structures. We have no intention of overbuilding beyond demand for real estate in the area. Our strategy has always been to “build to the market”. While a certain amount of infrastructure will be built at the onset of the project, we expect each phase to be self-sustaining for the infrastructure it will use. A good example of this is the sewer technology we expect to employ. We have identified modular systems that can be built initially for very small capacity, but expanded over time as the development grows.
We would also point out that tax revenues generated from the project will contribute significantly to the Town’s finances.
5. How does Grapevine plan to provide wastewater treatment and culinary water for its development? Who will pay for it?
We are currently reviewing several options for sewer treatment. Grapevine has included Ash Creek Special Service District, the Washington County Water Conservancy District (“WCWCD”) and the Town of Leeds in its study of sewer feasibility. Although not the only option, our current preferred approach is to locate a sewer treatment facility south of Grapevine on WCWCD property to which the entire valley naturally flows. However, the specific sewer technology and plan will be approved by the State Department of Environmental Quality, the Town of Leeds and WCWCD at a later date. An approved sewer plan must be in place prior to pulling the first building permit at Grapevine. The cost of the sewer plan will be borne by Grapevine.
As noted above, we expect to utilize a modular system that will allow incremental investment over time to reduce any risk of over-investment in unsustainable infrastructure.
With regard to culinary water, the Town of Leeds has entered into a Culinary Water Agreement with the WCWCD. This Agreement allows the Town to act as a seller of WCWCD water to its residents, including Grapevine. We have confirmed that the WCWCD has sufficient culinary water resources to service Grapevine, assuming a full build out. WCWCD also owns three wells immediately south of Grapevine that the WCWCD plans to put into production when needed. WCWCD has further plans to construct a new reservoir just north of Leeds near Anderson Junction. An approved water plan must be in place prior to pulling the first building permit at Grapevine. The State, WCWCD and the Town of Leeds must approve such water plan. The cost of the water delivery system will be borne by Grapevine.
6. How quickly will the Grapevine development be built out?
We expect Grapevine to build out in many phases that “build to the market”. As noted above, no construction can commence until utility and roadway infrastructure has been built. We expect that will still take a number of years.
7. How will Grapevine treat sensitive historic sites within the development?
We will work with the Town and residents to address concerns relating to protection of historic sites surrounding the development, such as the historic Babylon Town site and Stormont Mill site.
8. Given the state of the economy in the country and the region, isn’t this project doomed to fail?
While many projects in the County and the Country have failed in the recent economic climate, we feel a number of factors distinguish Grapevine and mitigate the risk of failure. First, as noted above, we intend to pursue measured, smart and incremental development to ensure we do not overbuild beyond demand in the market. Second, our mixed use zoning will allow us the flexibility to build properties that meet market demand in various economic circumstances. Furthermore, the Grapevine Wash Basic Local District has the ability to fund public improvements at interest rates significantly lower than market rates, giving the project access to low cost financing. Finally, Grapevine has the advantage of a capital structure with very little debt. This facilitates a more controlled pace of development as there is no driving need to generate revenues to meet debt obligations.
9. Is it true that Main Street is going to be turned into a highway?
Leeds’ Main Street will not become a highway and Grapevine supports the Town of Leeds’ interest to maintain the current character of its Main Street. Moreover, Grapevine supports the Town’s interest in a fully functional (four-way) freeway interchange and will work with the Town and UDOT in appropriate planning.
10. Is it true the development agreement has a term of 50 years?
This is true. It is reasonable for the term of an agreement governing development to be long enough to see the development through to build-out. It is anticipated that Grapevine will build out over many decades. Therefore a 50-year term is reasonable as it more closely conforms to anticipated project build-out. Furthermore, because of the initial investment that will be required for infrastructure, it is critical for us to have assurance that we will have the time to recoup those costs. This will allow for more prudent development. A shorter time frame could be an incentive for rushed development that decreases chances for success.
11. What will the properties in Grapevine look like?
Grapevine has created specific design guidelines all development and builders within the development will be required to follow. These broad design guidelines are found in the Grapevine Pattern Book. These principles govern architecture and landscapes and will be enforced by Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and by an active Owners’ Association. See pages 49 to 55 in the Pattern Book for some renderings of how the design principles might be implemented.