Council waives 2017 zoning application fees for aquarium
The Living Planet Aquarium won’t have to pay application fees in 2017 after the Draper City Council approved waiving the fees. (Kelly Cannon/City Journals)
The Draper City Council voted to waive all zoning application fees from the Living Planet Aquarium for the 2017 year. The unanimous vote happened during the council’s Feb. 21 meeting.
Assistant City Manager David Dobbins explained the aquarium is looking to expand to the south of its existing building. However, a few things have to happen before it can happen.
“They have to amend a zoning ordinance in order for them to accomplish what they want to. There’s a couple other applications they have to make,” Dobbins said. “They’ve requested that the fees associated with those applications be waived given that the city is a partner with the aquarium and a financing mechanism.”
Councilman Alan Summerhays tried to speculate how much money this could mean but Dobbins said it really depends on what the aquarium ends up trying to do.
Councilman William Rappleye spoke in support of waiving the fees, citing the city has done it in the past.
“I do believe that we’re a strong partner with the aquarium. I believe it does bring a lot of recognition to Draper City. I think it’s hard to prove out how many dollars have come to the community after the fact. But they do have a great map to show where the visitors come from and it’s quite a wide range across the United States,” Rappleye said. “I think that does help recruit businesses into our city. They’ve proven they’re a good corporate neighbor.”
Councilwoman Michele Weeks said she recently searched online for things to do in Utah and the aquarium was very high in the search results.
“It’s put Draper on the map of things to do in Utah,” Weeks said. “I’m very proud it is in Draper.”
Mayor Troy Walker said he remembered being on the council when they voted to partner with the aquarium. He said the city took a risk with their good credit when helping to finance the aquarium.
“I think it’s been an outstanding partnership. It’s a fun place to go and everybody does a great job with it,” Walker said. “I anticipate your future expansion will make it even more exciting.”