Former Park City Planning Director and Talisker Corp. Consultant Pat Putt has been officially hired as the new Summit County Community Development Director.

Putt was hired by the county in March as the interim director after Don Sargent announced his resignation.

"I brought him in to try to keep this ship afloat," County Manager Bob Jasper said. "Then everyone came to me and said, 'We're not only floating, we're moving in some good directions.' So I said, OK, let's make him the Community Development Director."

On May 1, the day following Sargent's departure, Jasper made Putt's position permanent.

"The climate has changed now," he added. "Both the Planning Commissions, instead of fighting with each other, are saying, let's get planning. And staff was happy, the Council was happy and most importantly, I was happy. It feels like we're starting to get some direction and are making progress. And I work well with him. I like him."

Jasper attributes the "climate change" to having a fresh face in the seat.

Sargent came under fire in the community after a controversial overturning of a Boyer building denial made by the Snyderville Planning Commission and for building a structure without first obtaining a permit.

"But Putt is also extremely well-respected in the community," he said. "I've had current and former planning commissioners call me and say, that was the best move you've made."

Jasper said it's his personal goal to finish the General Plan updates on both sides of the county.

"And he's come up with processes where we're really working on them and getting them done," he said. "That's important. We've been at them for almost three years. It's time to get them done. To me, the General Plan is a statement of what you'd like things to look like and how you'd like growth to go, based on principles.

"Then you get busy with a Development Code that reflects what your goals are," Jasper added. "And I was concerned we were doing work on a Development Code before we got the General Plans done. We're still doing some work on the Development Code but I'm assured we will get the plans done. I think we're on target and that both Planning Commissions have rolled up their sleeves and are working with Pat and staff to get them done."

Jasper acknowledged that conflicts of interest could arise from Putt's past employment with Talisker, but said he and Putt have both made it clear that Putt is to follow his professional ethics.

"If he believes there is a conflict of interest, he needs to come forward and so state, and not work on those projects," he said.