Craig H. Champlin - B.S. Business Administration, 1982; Kirk W. Jensen - B.A. Finance, 1990;
Officials in Logan and North Logan are considering redefining the boundary between the two municipalities along U.S. Highway 91. The Logan Municipal Council has approved a resolution calling for the boundary change and setting the stage for noticing and a public hearing within 60 days. "We've been through this thing for a couple of years on how best to work together with North Logan," said Logan Mayor Randy Watts. "You look at how it's been cut up on Main Street, and its jig sawed. It's cut in pieces." Currently, there are five transitions from one city to the other along the west side of Main Street, between 1650 North and 2500 North. "I think it's an excellent opportunity to bring (resolution) to the boundaries," added Watts. North Logan Mayor Lloyd Berentzen said he too is supportive of the proposal. "It just makes a lot of sense," Berentzen said. "I suspect that North Logan will be just as supportive as Logan is with this proposal." The boundary between North Logan and Logan, from approximately 550 West to 200 West, would move south roughly 1,968 feet. From about 200 West to the west boundary of the Main Street right-of-way, the boundary would move south approximately 3,280 feet. The properties west of Main Street that are currently in North Logan from about 1650 North to just south of Auto Mall Drive -- would become part of Logan. Kirk Jensen, Logan's economic development director, said that rearranging the border will benefit both cities in terms of having "greater development depth for a project off of Main." According to the proposal, North Logan would gain 146.04 acres, while Logan would pick up net annual tax revenue of roughly $12,739. Logan Councilman Herm Olsen who abstained from Tuesday's vote due to not being fully up to speed on the issue said he had been "wrestling a little" conceptually with the deal. "There's a positive fiscal impact ... in terms of the immediate benefit, but we're giving up 145 acres of ground net loss. And that just was a concern to me." Watts noted some of the land may not even be suitable for development. "You're talking about some really, really high water tables and some big-time mitigation," he said. "I think that's going to be a deterrent for some of the bigger box stores to come in there." Rich Anderson, Logan's finance director, gave his perspective from a business standpoint. "We're giving up some well-developed businesses, and we're gaining a few that are well-developed," Anderson said. "But really what we're gaining are some underdeveloped properties that hopefully have greater potential in the future. ... This is not a money grab by any stretch." But not everyone stands to gain from the land swap. Some property owners will benefit from a tax perspective, while others -- specifically those going to Logan will be stuck paying more. Craig Champlin, who owns six if the affected parcels, will end up paying roughly $2,379 more in property taxes annually. "I would object to it for other reasons besides just the taxes," Champlin said Thursday. "The taxes are only one portion of it. In fact, if they'd give me my choice I would annex the rest of that property that's in that block into North Logan rather than ... into Logan." Champlin added that Logan is a "lot more restrictive" than North Logan in terms of some zoning practices. Other parcels, such as one owned by the David E. & Sheryl S. Bessinger Trust which includes the location of the former Hamilton's Steak & Seafood, for example would cost less in property taxes due to the proposed boundary change. The Bessinger parcel's property taxes would be reduced by about $1,716 annually, according to an analysis by The Herald Journal. Logan Council Chairwoman Holly Daines said there will be ample time for public comment, adding the city will be sending out first class mail letters notifying property owners. "There have been a lot of proposals go back and forth ... and I feel like it's really been worked through carefully, thought through carefully. All groups seem to be on board at the present time," Daines said. "And again, we still have to go through public hearings and see what the property owners say. ... So it's certainly not a done deal."