Kaysville • In the latest sign Utah is easing out of the housing bust, one of the state's leading homebuilders is unveiling a 100-acre new master planned residential development in Kaysville.
Carved out of a prime piece of homesteaded farmland, Hill Farms will feature an array of home and lot designs aimed at fostering a sense of close-knit community, with liberal use of green space and unconventional house floor plans and architectural touches drawn from turn-of-the-century homes in Kaysville and Salt Lake City.
Layton-based home builder Destination Homes will open two model units in the subdivision along Kaysville's 200 North Angel Street for tours this weekend, starting with a gala event on Friday.
"You'll see something that looks different, not things that you normally see in a traditional Utah neighborhood,'' Destination Homes president Brad Wilson said. "Lots of open space, walking trails that connect the different neighborhoods, lots of front porches, lots of landscaping and people living out in the open space.''
Homes in the four-phased, pre-sold development will be reminiscent of those built 80 years ago in Utah, Wilson said, drawing their "iconic" design elements from historic properties in downtown Kaysville and Salt Lake City's Harvard-Yale, Sugar House and Avenues neighborhoods.
And as currently proposed, the North Davis Corridor would bring highway access to just west of the development.
Selling prices in Hill Farms will range from low $300,000s to the high $500,000, depending on a variety of features and square footages. Buyers can choose from four basic home styles and then customize specifics at a Destination Homes design center in Layton.
"It's a kind of Disneyland for home buyers," Wilson said of the center. Homes will then be completed within 90-100 days, he said.
Hill Farms is part of recent surge in Utah home construction, after a nearly six-year lag due to the economic recession. The 12-month period ending in September saw a 30 percent gain in housing starts over the year before, according to data from Metrostudy, which tracks housing markets nationally and in Utah.
The communities of South Jordan, Lehi, Herriman, Saratoga Springs and Layton all approved construction of hundreds of new homes in that period, data shows.
Destination Homes alone has launched two other housing projects over the summer, both in the South Jordan master-planned community of Daybreak. If fully built out, the Creekside and more upscale Lakeside developments would add as many as 200 new homes to the Wasatch Front.
On another level, the Hill Farms development may also represent key lessons learned from runaway housing speculation in the early 2000s and the ensuing housing crash, especially for Davis County, where land open for development is rapidly disappearing.
Members of the Hill family raised dairy and beef cattle on the acreage for several generations prior to selling it, according to Brent Hill, whose grandparents were among the area's early settlers. They entertained offers from at least six developers. Destination Homes didn't have the highest bid, Hill said, "but their concept and their ideas intrigued us."
"We felt strongly that we wanted it to be a legacy to the Hill family, and different and special from everything else that was out there," he said.
Hill's own home borders on the subdivision and as many as eight extended family members plan to buy homes in Hill Farms.
The project also took three years to plan, a process that included a series of public workshops and negotiations with Kaysville city officials over the development's housing density.
Though the city's land-use plan for west Kaysville called for two homes per acre, the new development pushes that ratio to about 2.6 or 2.7 homes per acre, according to Kaysville Mayor Steve Hiatt. Some residents also raised concerns about initial plans for multi-family units, the mayor said.
"Most of the people engaged in the process really felt the developer went the extra mile to address those concerns," Hiatt said. "A typical developer would have balked."
More generally, the mayor said, the old-fashioned home styles in Hill Farms will help preserve Kaysville's historic look and feel and reinforce its heritage and community values.
"It's one of the more unique developments in all of Davis County," said Hiatt. "It's a pretty exciting moment."
Hill Farms Opening
The public is invited to tour model homes at Hill Farms, a new master-planned community along Kaysville's 200 North Angel Street. Dignitaries will gather Friday at 2 p.m. to mark the opening of the unique 100-acre development. On Saturday, builder Destination Homes will offer free family photos to visitors on a first-come, first-serve basis, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 315 N Angel Street. Go to http://www.www.hillfarmsut.com for more information.