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The Sugar City City Council approved Old Farm Estates amended development plan on Friday.

“This has kind of been a unique situation. The development agreement — it significantly changed over the last 20 years and needed updated especially in the light of some litigation,” said the city’s attorney Chase Hendricks.

The city spent nearly three years in litigation involving Old Farm Estate’s development and its developers Jeff and Ryan Lerwill. It also pitted the city against two of its own councilmen and a citizen group concerned about perceived uncontrolled growth. The Lerwills, the two city councilmen, and the city filed a flurry of lawsuits back and forth before a settlement was reached in May 2019. Shortly after, three council members resigned citing “irreconcilable differences” with city.

Unlike previous meetings held concerning Old Farm Estates, there was no packed crowd nor were there angry arguments between the council members and the public.

Hendricks told the council that development agreements aren’t set in stone, and that adaptations were expected.

“They are supposed to be a living document (with) a living understanding between the developer and the city council,” he said.

The new agreement calls for the following zones in six phases:

Old Farm estates Phase 1 previously referred to as “Division 1” consists of 39 units zoned for R1 or Residential 1 with a density of 2.09 units per acre. In the agreement, the city will provide 10% of open space while the developer will provide .564-acre parcel per open space. All of the plats in Phase 1 have been sold.

Phase 2 of Old Farm Estates, formerly referred to as “Division 2” consists of 20 units per 2.55 acres. The city requires 10% of that to be used as open space. The developer has sold all but one of the units so far.

Phase 3 of the estates, formerly known as Division 3, consists of 88 units made up of fourplexes and six-plexes. It is designated as Residential 3 with 12.59 units per acre. All of the units have been sold. Once again, the city requires 10% green space. This phase or division was the source of great controversy and lawsuits.

A citizens group called “Citizens for the Rule of Law” went to court to stop the phase/division 3 development. The group was worried the Lerwills planned to build thousands of apartments on that one section of land. The group alleged that by doing so Sugar City would lose its small town feel.

The recently created Phase 4 of the estates consists of 48 units in eight buildings zoned as Residential 3 with a density of 10.3 units per acre. Phase 5 is made up of 84 townhomes with a density of 8.87 units per acre. In this phase the city again requires 10% open space but requires the developer to provide a minimum of 25% open space.

Old Farm Estates Phase 6 is zoned under multiuse with 338 apartments with 21.4 units per acre. Unlike other phases, the city requires 20% open space here while requiring the developer to provide 35% open space.

“P&Z went through it in detail. Some public comment was incorporated in the development agreement,” Hendricks said.

The details included open space between buildings and a place for a six-acre “centralized park.”

“(There was) a lot of discussion and negotiation with the developers, (and) the idea the developer would pay for the entirety of the park – landscaping, facilities, irrigation. It’s including anything and everything that would be built there and paid for by the developer,” Hendricks said.

Planning and Zoning Chairman Dave Thompson said that the developers had stated numerous times that they wanted a “nice upscale” park.

“They’re going to do it right,” he said.

The amended agreement also states that developers will provide for turning lanes on roads going into Old Farms Estates. The Lerwills would also create distinctions between residential neighborhoods and neighboring commercial ones. There would also be different varieties and types of homes varying in height and size to prevent “cookie-cutter” neighborhoods. The document also called for the developer to install sidewalks.

Councilman Glenn Dayley said that the updated agreement allows options for families.

“(It’s) so we wouldn’t just limit those who could live here to those who could afford a separate lot with a separate house. They have other options for single family units like townhomes,” he said.

Dayley said that the amended development plan will help the city in numerous ways by providing more parks and a secondary irrigation system.

“That’s a huge, huge benefit,” he said.

Dayley said that the adapted plan came after months of negotiations.

“The council members and the mayor (had) considered things for months. We reached this agreement and were able to sign off on it. It was the right thing to do for the city,” Dayley said.

The city council meets at 6:30 p.m., on Tuesday at city hall. For more information call 208-231-3941.