Silver Creek owner wants rezone
Ryan Summerlin April 30, 2013
George Mount owns land on the west side of Silver Creek Road, leaving him out of a recent decision by the Summit County Council to rezone the eastern portion of Silver Creek Estates Unit I community commercial.
"I assume the county would have a meeting set up to address the west side to see if they are going to keep it rural residential or make it commercial," Mount said. "Of course, I’m going to fight for commercial. The land is worth much more as commercial than it is residential."
County Planner Kimber Gabryszak explained the county only rezoned the east side because it was always primarily commercial.
"Almost all the parcels within that area were either undeveloped or developed for commercial," she said. "To the west of the road, there are infrastructure issues, and that area is really not developed for the most part, so it can wait for the infrastructure issues to be sorted out."
Mount said he plans to sell the land, though interested people have been deterred by the ambiguous land zoning.
"They’ve gone to the county and the county planners would say they weren’t sure what the land was," he said.
At the time he purchased his three parcels, in 1994, 1997 and 2002, Mount said county staff told him they were commercially-zoned properties.
"It was platted that way in 1965," he said. "Then in 1977 the county improperly zoned Silver Creek rural residential. What they contended was that Unit I, which as the bottom where all the commercial was planned, was grandfathered in. That’s what I was told for 18 years."
Gabryszak said that while Unit I was never zoned commercial, for a time the county recognized the uses that were on the plat.
"So it was recognized commercial even though it wasn’t zoned commercial," she said.
When Mount requested advice concerning zoning compliance from the Office of the Utah Property Rights Ombudsman, an independent government entity that advises citizens and government agencies concerning land use and property rights laws, the Ombudsman determined that zoning cannot be grandfathered in.
"So the county felt they were forced to downzone it to rural residential, so now I’m fighting it to get it zoned back to commercial again, because I sit right across from a truck stop," he said.
Mount said he spent a considerable amount of money on one of his plats, "on the county’s word that it was commercial," so the county agreed to zone the land commercial.
"But with my lots behind it, I didn’t do all the excavation work, because I was going to do it one lot at a time," he said. "So the county said one lot is commercial but the ones behind it are rural residential. Now I’m really in a pickle because if I or someone else puts a commercial building on the front lot, who is going to want a residence on the back lots next to a commercial building?"
Jim Conway, who owns property on the east side of Silver Creek Unit I, said he is disappointed the west side of Unit I didn’t receive the same rezoning.
"We’re all dying to know what’s going to happen with the west side of Silver Creek Road in Unit I," he said. "The poor thing for them is that they didn’t get the zoning we have."
Getting the east side rezoned was a hard-earned battle, he added.
"We’ve been battling them for a long time to finally get half of Unit I official," he said. "I’ve been battling for three years or longer. I moved out to Silver Creek in 1976, and I always felt like a bastard child because we were put together before there was even zoning in Summit County. So we were left out as everything else developed. While everyone else got the good commercial zoning, we were running helter skelter."
Gabryszak said that currently there are no plans to rezone the east side of Unit I, but the county may revisit the issue when the infrastructure issues are sorted out.