In August, Highland Estates residents addressed the Summit County Council, asking that the neighborhood be a separate one in the Snyderville Basin General Plan. Much of the reason for the request was the number of home-based businesses in the area.
The County Council on Oct. 16 is scheduled to hold a hearing about Chapters 1-9 of the General Plan. Part of the discussion will center on separating Highland Estates in the neighborhood planning areas.
Recently, however, there has been miscommunication and misunderstanding about what the county is seeking to do in Highland Estates, said Randy Godfrey, a Highland Estates resident and owner of High Country Lawn Care.
Godfrey said he received a poll question from the neighborhood's homeowners association asking whether residents would like Highland Estates to be rezoned as a commercial neighborhood.
The problem is, the county is not considering rezoning Highland Estates.
"That's not the issue. The county has no interest in rezoning Highland Estates or Ridgeview as commercial," said County Councilor Claudia McMullin, the chair. "What we're doing right now is simply going over the Neighborhood Planning Area in the General Plan."
McMullin said the County Council must decide whether current home-based businesses in Highland Estates are acceptable.
"We've gotten some pushback that some home-based businesses have grown to an untenable size for a residential area," McMullin said.
Kristen Case, a Highland Estates resident, said there are some businesses in the neighborhood that have grown too large.
"We have tractors, trailers, pickup trucks and employees coming and going. It's visually unattractive," Case said. "I worry about the safety of kids in the neighborhood. We have kids that walk to Trailside [Elementary]."
Godfrey said the neighborhood poll was misleading and needs to be reworded. He said a more acceptable question would be whether to allow the businesses currently in Highland Estates to remain there and to allow for an extension of the current residential code. Currently the code allows for one vehicle for a home-based business, other than a personal vehicle.
"Instead of one truck, let's say that it be extended to five or six trucks," Godfrey said. "What we're hoping for is that [the county] will make some kind of extension to the current code so that those of us who have been here for 20, 30 years are not being kicked out."
Case, however, reiterated that a residential area is not the place for a small business.
"My husband owns a small business and he pays for a building. That's just the cost of doing business," Case said.
Bill Buresh, a member of the Highland Estates Homeowners Association Board, said most residents are not against having businesses in the neighborhood, but rather do not want the area to be turned into "a parking lot for equipment."
"Some of these people have put in a lot of effort to build what they have," Buresh said. "The fact is, the county regulations do not allow them to keep their equipment there."
Buresh added that he would like Highland Estates to be "strictly residential" and does not want it to be the "dumping ground" for those who want to have commercial operations.
Summit County Community Development Director Pat Putt said the county will be looking at some of the different conditions present in Highland Estates while finishing up its Neighborhood Plans.
Two options Putt said the county could choose regarding home-based businesses would be either a strict enforcement of the current code or some sort of limited home occupation that would allow for a truck, trailer and some equipment. The creation of another residential zoning classification is another possibility, he said.
McMullin stressed that a commercial rezoning of Highland Estates is not the intent of the County Council, nor was it previously.
"This has nothing to do with rezoning or zoning," McMullin said. "We don't want people to be afraid of what's never going to happen."
The County Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing about Chapters 1-9 of the Snyderville Basin General Plan on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 6 p.m. at the Sheldon Richins Building, 1885 W. Ute Blvd.