Developers of a proposed community west of Utah Lake now have a scaled-down, more detailed plan that they hope will persuade Utah County commissioners to create a special service district to help finance their proposal.

Developers originally petitioned commissioners to create a special service district comprising 9,800 acres along U-68 between Saratoga Resort and Pelican Point along the northwest shore of Utah Lake. In the middle of that district, developers would build Saratoga Springs, a planned-unit development of 600 homes, condominiums and an 18-hole golf course.The original proposal included 98 parcels owned by 147 individuals. Developers now are proposing to move the northern boundary about a mile south so the district would include only 7,000 acres and 87 parcels. Developers say 70 percent of the landowners within the new boundaries support the district.

At a public hearing two weeks ago, opponents to the district said the boundary extended too far to the north and that developers were not providing enough information about potential costs to landowners. At Wednesday's commission meeting, representatives of the developers and some landowners tried to answer those questions.

Dan Allen, representing several property owners, said Saratoga Springs would be the initial development, but not the only development in the area. The district would provide only the main water and trunk lines to the entire area, leaving developers responsible for installing lateral lines and connections.

If the district cannot get the culinary water from nearby wells, it might be able to purchase Central Utah Project water. The water would be stored in large water tanks east of the district. The district could either hook into an existing sewer system or construct its own lagoon system.

The estimated cost of providing the initial infrastructure would be about $2.6 million. Most of that would be recovered through water and sewer connection fees for the 600 Saratoga Springs homes.

Allen warned that the district's governing board would make the ultimate decision on what services to provide and how to finance those services. Because the district could only bond for 12 percent of its assessed valuation, however, taxation is not likely to generate enough money to install services. The proposed district's current valuation is only about $1.6 million.

"It's not likely that taxation or (general obligation) bonding is going to provide much funding for what will occur out there," Allen said.

Commissioners say using special service districts to develop communities is contrary to the county's philosophy. They say development should occur from cities outward. However, if most property owners within the district support the plan, they'll likely approve the district.

Those supporting the petition say a special service district is the only way to properly develop the area. They say it is not feasible to develop the area one project at a time, that annexing to Lehi would not be beneficial to Lehi residents and that developers need 100 residents before they could incorporate as a city.

"A special service district can really do most of the things this area needs without many down sides," Allen said.

Commissioners will accept written comment on the petition for 15 more days. Property owners have 30 days after that to change their protests. After which, commissioners will either grant the petition, deny the petition, reduce the size of the district or eliminate some of its services.