Snyderville Basin governing document approved
June 19, 2015
With as many as 3,000 residential units and millions of square feet of commercial space already approved and waiting to be built, the Summit County Council wants to put the brakes on approving any new entitlements.
"The approach of not wishing to create more until we deal with what we have now, we think it is a sound approach," said Pat Putt, Summit County development director. "I don’t believe it is the long-term intent to not see future new development. But this allows commission and council broad flexibility to create land uses in the right locations."
The Summit County Council unanimously approved Phase 2 of the Snyderville Basin General Plan Wednesday night, including the "no new entitlements" policy.
Nearly 65 people attended the hearing at the Sheldon Richins Building, including more than 15 from the Jeremy Ranch neighborhood who had specific concerns about how the policy might affect their neighborhood.
The General Plan, which county staff refer to as an advisory document, is intended to maintain Basin residents’ way of life by protecting the environment, open space and the diverse neighborhood interests. At the same time, it delves into the issues of transportation, interconnectivity and development and provides the community with an outline of how to deal with those issues.
"It’s an important advisory document because it helps explain why we will make the decisions we will make in the future," Putt said.
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One of the strategies, Putt said, is to discourage any new entitlements beyond what is already approved. There is approximately 2.6 million square feet of commercial space approved and 3,000 residential units that are approved but not yet built.
This has been one of the most contentious components of the plan at the council level. A majority of the County Council’s work sessions were spent on the document’s language and its possible implications. Throughout the hearing on Wednesday, county staff changed or deleted words while the County Council made suggestions.
the end of the meeting, the first part of the policy read: Not approve any new entitlements beyond those permitted by the Development Code until such time that existing entitlements are significantly exhausted. It went on to list circumstances under which the County Council could approve a new development project.
Dave Thomas, chief deputy attorney, warned council about the policy’s potential to limit their options in the future.
"That’s why this is the middle-ground result," Thomas said. "You are building into this self-restrictions on yourself. The more things you put in there, the more hurdles you will need to go through."
"I think this is smart language here and it ought to be kept," said Kathy Becker, a Fox Point at Redstone resident. "I think it reflects a commitment to the public, the Realtor and development. You should trust yourselves to be accountable."
However, not all residents support the policy.
Bill Coleman, a Park City real estate executive, has opposed this policy since it was first presented.
"All the plans I’ve worked on, that is usually when the problem occurs when you build Development Code language into the plan," Coleman said. "All these requirements are already in the Development Code and are very restrictive.
"There is a great deal of redundancy," he said to the County Council. "You’ve covered the issue and are able to deal with projects as they come along. The best way is to speak in the most general terms."
After nearly two hours, the document was approved with the suggested edits.
Putt said the intent is to review the document on a yearly basis. Now that the General Plan is approved, staff will begin on reworking the Development Code, which defines how to implement the foundations and ideals laid out in the General Plan.
The Basin General Plan hasn’t been significantly redrafted since 2003. County staff and the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission spent nearly two years working on the document and crafting the language before sending it to the County Council in February. During that time, Basin residents flocked to hearings to weigh in on the deliberations involving their neighborhoods.
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