OGDEN — Ogden and Clearfield were among three cities chosen by the Utah Transit Authority for “transit-oriented development” sites earlier this week.
Deciding among dozens of other Utah cities, UTA’s new, three-member board made the decision Wednesday during the agency’s weekly board meeting, pegging the two Northern Utah FrontRunner stations as well as a combination of the Salt Lake Central and North Temple stations in Salt Lake City as the agency’s newest TOD sites.
The passing of the resolution means the transit agency will work with the communities to develop surplus UTA land adjacent to the stations. TOD sites typically include high-density, mixed-use development with housing, retail and commercial buildings centered around multiple transit options.
According to UTA’s resolution, the development is meant to “create environments that allow people to live, work, and recreate without the necessity of an automobile.”
In a deviation from past UTA procedure, selections were made based on a specific set of criteria. According to the resolution, things like public support, station accessibility, area market strength, growth potential, affordable housing and the likelihood of increasing transit ridership were all factors considered.
Mayors from both Ogden and Clearfield lauded the board’s decision.
“We’re really excited about it,” said Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell. “We’ve worked really hard on that with UTA and it’s great to see it finally happening. It has the potential to do some great things for our downtown.”
The deal could dovetail well with Ogden City’s plans to develop the grounds near the Union Station. Though still in its most initial phases, the Union Station development could include large, public open spaces, museums, art galleries, high-density housing, retail space, meeting and event space and administrative offices.
The plan has been uncertain because Union Pacific Railroad still owns all of the ground surrounding the station, but the city is working with UP to either secure a long-term lease on the land, or purchase it outright.
On Facebook, Clearfield Mayor Mark Shepherd said securing a TOD deal at the city’s FrontRunner Station has emerged as his top priority in office. The mayor said he and other city officials have worked with UTA and a planning firm for the past year-and-a-half to create a development plan for the Clearfield Station.
“To say I have been on pins and needles since we submitted our plan would be an understatement,” Shepherd said in a post on Clearfield’s Facebook page.
Although the development selections are final, the board’s decision does not mean construction is imminent. UTA will now solicit ideas from interested developers and work with the cities to finalize construction plans.
“We’re still a long way from construction actually happening,” Caldwell said. “Once the plans are developed, they will have to go through our city planning commission, the council. They’ll have to make it through the entire city approval process.”