Developers of a golf resort in South Fork of Provo Canyon - one that they hope might host a Professional Golf Association tournament someday - will have to wait a month to step up to the first tee.
Before plans for the tentatively named Shingle Creek development can move ahead, Dr. Richard Parkinson must secure property on which to build. The City Council on Tuesday postponed until Aug. 17 a decision to sign a 99-year lease for 200 acres of city property known as the Wallace Ranch. For developers, obtaining the lease would be like hitting off the No. 1 tee in a 72-hole tournament - it's the first step in a long process.Residents and council members raised several issues that developers haven't yet addressed, especially the configuration of a sewer system and possible cost to homeowners.
"I don't believe it's prudent to sign a lease with so many unanswered questions," said Councilwoman Shari Holweg. Her col-leagues concurred.
Council members were also concerned that under terms of the lease, alterations to the project plan would not return to them for consideration. That decision would rest with the mayor. The council wants to determine whether a golf resort is the best use of the land.
Should the council approve the lease, the debate about whether to build the resort will shift to the county arena. The land lies in the unincorporated county, leaving final project approval to the Utah County Commission.
Many South Fork residents and property owners opposed to the project hope it gets lost in the rough. A petition signed by 93 property owners cites fire danger, water contamination, increased traffic, water supply, lack of benefit to Utah residents and risk of additional development as reasons for their opposition.
Harold Carter, of Vivian Park, isn't buying Parkinson's claim that he offers the best chance for least development in South Fork. Carter likes the canyon the way it is.
"We already feel we have the best protection in there," he said.
Under terms of the proposed agreement, Parkinson would use the land rent-free for the first three years. Rent would be $24,000 annually the fourth year and increase $12,000 every five years to a maximum of $50,000 a year. The city would also collect 1 percent of the resort's gross adjusted receipts annually. Mayor Mike Hill said the city intends to use the revenue to improve parks and recreation facilities.
Shingle Creek would include a golf course, pro shop, driving range, swimming pool, tennis courts, health spa, restaurant, a 60-room lodge and up to 15 cabins. The development is subject to all federal, state, county and municipal laws regarding the environment, watershed and culinary water supply.
"It will be one of the best golf courses in the world," Parkinson said. Renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones has expressed interest in designing the course. Developers would like to attract a PGA tour event, possibly with local corporate backing.
Citizens like Rick Knecht implored the council to leave South Fork as it is to allow citizens access to the forest.
"If this goes through tonight, it's over. I'll have to rent that opportunity. I'll have to buy a ticket," Knecht said.
Professional golfer Mike Reid, who's a consultant to developers, said the golf course would provide more opportunity for recreation.
"We don't want to be looked upon as the ogre in the canyon that puts up fences. We want to knock fences down," he said.