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Davis hotel plan gets no objections

County to sell an acre in Layton to Kevin Garn

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FARMINGTON — The time for the public to comment on Davis County's plan to sell an acre of land to hotel developer Kevin Garn for a 150-room hotel in Layton came and went without so much as a phone call, clerk/auditor Steve Rawlings said Wednesday.

A two-week comment period ended with a public hearing Tuesday night in the historic courthouse here in which no one showed up or submitted written comments, Rawlings said.

Former state legislator Garn has proposed an $11 million hotel be built in conjunction with a $9 million conference center the county would build on county-owned land north of the Layton Hills Mall.

Rawlings sees the lack of public comment as support for the joint project, which has been in the works for nearly seven years. "There's a lot of support for the conference center. The support base is very large," he said.

The county owns 15 acres in the area of 700 W. Heritage Blvd. and agreed to sell one acre to Garn for his hotel. The county will keep the rest for a 400,000-square-foot conference center and a possible office complex and restaurants.

"We're talking to developers now about building high-class office space on some of the land. We could also have a couple of restaurants there," Rawlings said.

The county will sell one acre to Garn for an appraised value of $261,000, even though it paid an average of $280,000 per acre for 12 acres, Rawlings said. The county started buying land in 1998 with an initial six acres, then bought three acres in 2000 and six acres in 2001, paying a premium price for the final six in order to control the whole parcel, he said.

"The average price per acre excluding the final six acres would be significantly less than $280,000," Rawlings said.

Rawlings expects the county to make a profit on the remaining 14 acres as it sells it to developers. "Land values are going up in the area now that the conference center has been announced," he said.

Rawlings said the county expects to sell the acre to Garn in early October.

E-mail: lweist@desnews.com