Life is golden for developers Joe Featherstone and Kent Derricott.
City officials are enamored with their project in the mountains east of Bountiful Boulevard. Lots are selling. And the pair's "pride and joy" is flowing perfectly."We haven't had bad experiences with developers, but we've never had a more positive one than this," said Mayor Bob Linnell. "They've done everything we've asked and more. Got three minutes? I'll show you."
What Linnell was eager to show off (only to an inquiring reporter) was a foothill development without equal along the Wasatch Front.
Called Stone Ridge, the project is situated on 200 acres overlooking the Great Salt Lake. At its entrance is Utah's largest manmade water feature, a waterfall that cascades over native rocks into a 40,000-gallon pond.
"It's our pride and joy, the realization of a vision we have for this area," Featherstone said.
Beyond the waterfall, to the east, are 65 building lots, all engineered to provide an unobstructed view of the valley below, regardless of what size house is built on neighboring lots.
On the north side is U.S. Forest Service land, to the south are Ridge Estates and Mueller Canyon, city-owned land rests to the east and a cemetery sits below to the west.
"We've got a small island here that is surrounded by land that can't be developed," Featherstone said.
Also unlike most foothill developments, Stone Ridge offers no less than 1.5-acre lots. The city's ordinances allow lots as small as 1/3 acre, which could have let the pair cram several hundred homes in the development.
But, as Linnell put it, "These guys aren't totally driven by the dollar."
Besides the waterfall and large lots, Derricott and Featherstone have planted grass and installed sprinkling systems on parking strips throughout the development.
That's unusual for developers, according to City Engineer Jack Balling.
Also unusual is the pair's donation to the city of 600 acres east of Stone Ridge and 20 acres surrounding Barton Creek in Holbrook Canyon. The city cannot develop the 600 acres but may develop the Holbrook Canyon acreage sometime in the future.
The developers are also paying for construction of a 500,000-gallon water tank that will serve Stone Ridge and act as a backup to the system that now supplies most of the city's foothills, Balling said.
Few developers would even think of doing those things, Balling said. "Most fight over everything the city wants them to do."
Such expenses have to be covered and a profit turned, of course. Accordingly, Stone Ridge lots start at $100,000 and end at $450,000.
About a third of the 65 lots, marketed through Ronn Marshall and Maple Hills Realty, have sold. Featherstone expects the remainder to sell within three years.
Four homeowners have begun construction and the development's architectural committee is reviewing plans for three others, he said.