In conjunction with the acquisition of the land, WPR exercised our right to an option for 2,500 ac-ft of water available through an existing agreement with Weber Basin Water Conservation District. This water was set aside by WBWCD based on a 2011 agreement with the previous owner. This contract allows for water to be sourced via onsite wells, springs and diversion from the Weber River System. We are currently investigating the most efficient method for sourcing this water for the project’s use and our plan will be reviewed and approved by the State Engineer later this year. Regarding project usage of the water, our initial calculations indicate that over 50% of the water usage will be utilized for onsite snowmaking and landscape irrigation. Downstream neighbors will benefit by returning this flow to the river as spring snow melt and seasonal stream flow.
The US Army Corps of Engineers and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) set and enforce strict requirements for setbacks, buffer zones and water quality for all water courses and bodies on the property.
Regarding water rights, first- in-time is first-in-right. Utah’s prior appropriation doctrine that governs all water rights protects established water rights against interference.
Properties are assessed by using comparable properties. Value is determined in accordance with accepted appraisal standards and techniques. In Utah, there are three approaches to determine value that are considered and used as appropriate. These approaches to value are based on:
The Morgan County assessor will use like-kind properties to determine property value. In this case, like-kind are only those homes located within the Wasatch Peaks Ranch property, as a substantial amount of the value of the home is tied to the exclusive right to use the amenities on the property. In the opinion of the assessor, WPR will not affect property values in the rest of the county. Some Morgan County residents have experienced an increase in property values in the past few years based on the market for the types of homes current in the county. WPR will have limited to no impact on these market forces.
This has always been private property with no public trespassing allowed for the last 20 years. People who own real estate within Wasatch Peaks Ranch are assessed substantial fees for the operation and maintenance of all recreation facilities. This includes skiing, golf, hiking/biking trails and other facilities and amenities. The cost for operations and maintenance is significant.
In addition, privacy and security is very important to the WPR buyer. Spending time as a family without having to worry about intrusions is a key driver of the value and critical reason to be a WPR member.
The current zoning is F-1, MU-160 and A-20. The applicant desires to rezone to Resort Special District (RSD).
It is estimated that at buildout, Wasatch Peaks Ranch will employ approximately 600 people. Positions will range from hourly staff to managers/directors. Positions will include a broad range of skills and experiences such as ski instructor, ski patrol, ski operations, security, golf instruction and course management, food & beverage, maintenance, etc. Additional jobs will be generated in construction and services.
The developer is funding the development with equity from individuals (unlike typical develops that have debt financing). Our conservative financial projections assume that there will be two recessions while we are marketing and selling real estate. The developers have the financial resources to complete this project as proposed.
The Cost Benefit Analysis used only 475 homes to provide a conservative estimate of economic impact. Eight years into development, it is estimated that Wasatch Peaks Ranch will generate $4 million in property tax revenue to the county and $9 million annually at built out. To place these numbers in context, in 2019, Morgan County is budgeted to have $2.51 million in property tax revenue. At buildout, it is estimated that Wasatch Peaks Ranch will add approximately $500,000 of Morgan County general fund expenses annually.
At buildout based on 475 homes, WPR will contribute $25.7 million of property tax revenue annually to the Morgan County School District. Currently the District receives $8 million in property tax revenue. The number is derived by multiplying the total taxable property value ($3.3 billion at buildout), by the 2017 Morgan County School District tax rate of 0.007596, for $25.7 million in school district revenue at buildout.
The Traffic Impact Study, Infrastructure Master Plan and Resort Special District rezone request is based on a maximum of 750 RDUs (residential density units), which are made up of single-family homes, multi-family homes and lodging accommodations for members.
The base lodge and a significant amount of residential units are located in a valley that is minimally visible from the Mountain Green and Morgan City areas. The ski area and some homesites on the lower portions of the property will be visible. It is important to realize that it is more than 3 miles from the Mountain Green area to Wasatch Peaks Ranch (as the crow flies). A visual simulation will be prepared for the Planning Commission public hearing.
This community is private and the amenities and recreation opportunities will only be used by the residents of the community. The majority of these residences will not be primary residences and will only be used during a fraction of the year. Due to the private and recreational nature of this community, the peak AM and PM trips do not result in significant traffic entering and exiting the development, as would be typical with a public resort or typical residential community. The community’s employee shifts will not mirror an 8 to 5 working day, with the employees shifts occurring outside of normal peak hours.
Historical and documented access through the property will be respected and coordinated with the WPR development.
We do not know about past agreements and actions of developers in Morgan County. The track record of the individuals involved in Wasatch Peaks Ranch demonstrates honesty, integrity and commitment to quality. The WPR RSD Development Agreement is tied to the land and legally binds the developer to any agreements made to the County.
The development cannot substantially change without starting over seeking approvals a land use plan, development agreement and public process.
Wasatch Peaks Ranch is not asking the County or any other government to participate in the financing of the infrastructure or other improvements. It will have no obligation to financially step in should the project stall. There are no known projects in Utah where the government had any role in “picking up the financial pieces” from a troubled project, unless a governmental entity had provided or guaranteed financing for project infrastructure.
Cattle will continue grazing on a portion of the ranch. Wasatch Peaks Ranch is aware that they are expected to fence in those cattle and fence out cattle from the developed areas.
The Analysis states that at after buildout, WPR will support 566 direct jobs for WPR operations and an additional 133 jobs (699 total) generated for businesses that support WPR and its residents. The associated labor income is projected at $12 million and $15 million annually, respectively. If you just do the math, one might conclude that the average salary is $22,000, which of course is not the case.
The projected employment data in the report reflects jobs (with full-time and part-time jobs counted equally), rather than full-time equivalents (FTEs). Due to the seasonal fluctuation in operations, it is estimated that about a third of the jobs will be part time and employees may have more than one part time job at WPR. There are also a significant number of jobs where employees receive a large part of their income from tips, which is not reflected in this
calculation. It is premature to estimate what the exact wage scales at WPR might be.
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