Legislation dealing with an important section of northern Utah County recently passed in both the Utah State Senate and Utah State House of Representatives.

Senate Joint Resolution 8 and House Joint Resolution 7 are both awaiting Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature after success during Utah’s recent legislative session. Both resolutions deal with part of the land owned by the Utah State Developmental Center, which sits just north of the LDS temple in American Fork.

Senate Joint Resolution 8, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Hemmert, R-Orem, authorizes the Utah State Developmental Center’s governing board to move forward with its request to sell or lease 143 acres of its roughly 450 acres of land and water rights. Guy Thompson, the Center’s superintendent and a board member, said the land will be developed in order to provide a revenue stream for the Developmental Center.

“The community’s just grown around us, so we set up a master plan to put the land to use and give us continuous cash flow into our system,” he said by phone Wednesday. “I’m very pleased (with the passage of SJR008 and HJR007). There are several developers now that want to look at this. We’re going to try to do development that will fit into the community there.”

House Joint Resolution 7, sponsored by Rep. Michael S. Kennedy, R-Alpine, deals specifically with the section of the land set aside for a north county east-west connector road, and authorizes the developmental board to move forward with plans for it. Dubbed the Murdock Connector by American Fork, Highland, Alpine and Cedar Hills representatives, the road will serve as an important east-west corridor connecting Highland to American Fork between State Route 92 to the north, and 300 North on the south. The proposed route will start on the east and connect to Harvey Boulevard in Cedar Hills, run through Utah State Developmental Center land and come out on 100 East American Fork/5300 West Highland.

“We see the road being an integral part of our development plans,” Thompson said. “This will help everybody.”

Rep. Kennedy said both joint resolutions were important, as the decision is now out of the hands of the state legislature and into the Developmental Board’s hands.

“I think that is really important. We need to let locals make local decisions,” Kennedy said Tuesday.

The legislation was necessary, Thompson explained, because the center’s land is state-owned and under the management of the Utah State Department Division of Facilities Construction and Management. Because of this, Hemmert explained, after the board took action in 2017 asking for permission to move forward with land development plans, it had to go through the next step of approval by the state.

“Now the board is fully empowered, if you will, to sell or lease the land,” Hemmert said Tuesday.

Thompson said there are plans to release a request for proposals for development within the next three months.

Karissa Neely reports on Business and North County events, and can be reached at 801-344-2537 or kneely@heraldextra.com. Follow her on Twitter: @DHKarissaNeely

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