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The final terms of the option agreement were the subject of very focused negotiations in the last weeks of this negotiation and closed rather suddenly. Once the terms were finalized, the parties desired a short closing window.
As soon as the terms were final, the County Council quickly scheduled a public hearing for reasons of transparency to make the document public, inform the public of its terms, and to allow public comment. The tight closing window relative to a final document required the notice timing.
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Funding is coming from:
Down payment from 2021 General Obligation Open Space Bond (No more than $15M) A total of $50M was previously approved by Summit County voters in 2021; $16M of which has been committed for Eastern Summit County
Local, state, federal, and private grant funding
Private fundraising efforts
Other non-property tax sources of public monies
$55,000,000 purchase price ($15,000,000 down payment from the GO Open Space Bond, shall be credited against the Purchase Price at Closing)
4.5% annual interest paid quarterly until closing
$5,000 monthly rental for immediate control of the property (Summit County shall receive credit against the Purchase Price for 50% of this cost at closing)
Upon paying the purchase price, the County will own fee simple title to the property and not just a conservation easement.
The County does not believe it will need to raise property taxes to fund this purchase.
The County chose the option agreement structure to gain exclusive control of the property now while at the same time ensuring reasonable time to secure outside sources of funding.
Yes. Snyderville Basin Open Space Advisory Committee (“”BOSAC”) and Summit County Open Space Advisory Committee (“OSAC”) (which represents county wide residents concerning open space evaluations) identified the 910 as a very high priority for funding for western Summit County.
Both OSAC and BOSAC each passed a positive recommendation to the County Manager to purchase the 910.
Summit County has up to four years to purchase the property.
The initial option period expires August 31, 2026
The initial option period can be extended for one additional year for an additional $5 million option fee, which applies to the total purchase price.
Due to the size of the property and many sensitive areas, Summit County will need time to assess the property and develop a variety of plans for the management, operation, and uses on the property.
Summit County will develop plans for forest management, wildlife protection and management, wildfire management, weed management, wetlands and streams management, recreation access and management, and other critical plans.
Guided public events and tours will be forthcoming.
There are grazing operations still taking place on the property and the tenant deserves protection.
There will be public discussion and opportunities for public input concerning the County’s planned plans and policies concerning the 910.
The 910 will be conserved in perpetuity by deed restrictions/conservation easements, depending upon the funding sources.
General discussions about Summit County purchasing the 910 initially started in 2017 but were very preliminary expressions of interest by both parties. Private parties were also interested in purchasing the 910 during that period.
Approximately, one year ago 910’s owner and Summit County commenced focused negotiations, which took some time due to the structure of the transaction.
The final negotiations proceeded very quickly over the three week period prior to closing the transaction.
Summit County closely safeguards property acquisition negotiations to ensure it is able to obtain the best deal possible for the public’s money.
The 910’s owner at the time of the negotiations prohibited hunting on the 910 and aggressively enforced that prohibition and aggressively prosecuted poaching.
The prohibition of hunting on the 910 was a very specific, non-negotiable condition to the sale of the property.
Summit County recognizes that hunting is a popular recreation activity in Utah and a matter of sustenance to some. In addition, Summit County views responsible, selective, legal and ethical hunting with carefully determined harvest rates as an important wildlife management tool and is one means of maintaining a balanced ecosystem.
Hunting can generate revenue for conservation efforts, incentivizing the preservation and protection of natural spaces.
Nevertheless, hunting will not be allowed on the 910. Summit County believes that given the historical 30-year hunting prohibition on the 910 Ranch combined with adjacent lands where hunting is allowed, will not result in ecological imbalances on the property.
The 910 will be managed as a wildlife sanctuary.
Probably but limited and highly regulated. East Canyon Creek is a critically important stream and supports a wide variety of wildlife and fish. Activities concerning the stream will be part of the overall management and recreation plans for the 910 Ranch.
Summit County will be the landowner and will be the land use authority.
Detailed decisions related to the use and long-term management will be determined during the development of the 910 management plan.
No management decision for recreation will be officially determined until a thorough and detailed baseline analysis is performed. It is important for Summit County to determine the location of, and avoid disturbance to, sensitive habitats and wildlife use areas before planning for recreational use.
The County has received significant comments from the public asking that the property be well-conserved and to avoid implementing plans and policies that result in the 910 becoming “overloved.”
Buildings will be limited to incidental uses and the development and installation of support facilities, buildings, and structures relating thereto, including but not limited to restrooms, trailheads, parking facilities, visitors centers, educational facilities, storage facilities, garages, caretaker’s quarters, and concessions, all of which would be administered under the direction of the County.