Summit County Council again delays vote on Silver Creek agreement
May 29, 2015
Once again the Summit County Council delayed its vote on the Silver Creek Village Center Development Agreement and has decided to extend the zoning designation another month.
Council Members unanimously chose to extend the Specially Planned Area (SPA) deadline through June 30 to give the developers and planning staff the time to make the suggested changes discussed Wednesday night during their work session. Council member Dave Ure was not present at the meeting.
This will be the fourth time the SPA designation has been extended since it was originally approved in 2011. A SPA designation is typically only valid for one year from the date it is approved.
When asked about the multiple extensions, Council member Roger Armstrong said "it’s fair to give them the additional time to get this done as long as we are making progress."
"Both parties have been working in good faith to resolve outstanding issues," he said.
The draft presented to Council members this week included revisions that were discussed during the March 25 public hearing. At that time, council members were especially concerned about the community benefits the developer would be responsible for, the potential amount of residential density that could be converted to commercial use and traffic mitigation.
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Armstrong said after he compared his comments he made during the hearing to the version he received this week, he "thought they got it a lot closer."
"I think we addressed all of my comments and I’m hopeful that we will have a document we can approve next week," he said. "The developer’s responses were fairly positive and I think we will be pretty close to getting it done."
The Development Agreement is the final aspect of the project that needs to be approved before the developers can legally move forward with specific designs and infrastructure, such as sewer and water.
The project is vested under the 1997 General Plan and 1998 Development Code. When the SPA was approved, it included 50,000 square feet of commercial space, with 80 acres specifically designated for a community park and connected trails. The development will include 1,290 residential units, including 330 affordable housing units.
The County Council requested that a cap be placed on the amount of residential density that could be converted to commercial density. A maximum of 75,000 square feet was considered after the March 25 meeting, but ultimately stricken.
Changes were also made to the portions of the document that deal with the developer’s responsibilities related to the community park and surrounding trails, as well as a land donation to the South Summit School District for a future school site.
The Silver Creek Village Center development is one of the last previously approved major developments that the county is confronted with right now, Armstrong said.
"It’s big and because of the size and number of units it raises concerns in a variety of areas," he said. "From traffic and transportation to ensuring that we get the community amenities that were the basis for the densities that were approved years ago. That’s why it’s so important to work through issues like the school property to make sure the open space is protected and calculated traffic and transportation impacts are contemplated."
He went on to say that this process is a situation where County Council has to live with a large development due to vested rights.
"If we had absolute say over what people can or can’t do, we probably would have said that’s not exactly what we want to see," Armstrong said. "But given what we got, I think we are able to make the best of the situation for the community."
Despite the back and forth going on between the developers and the County Council, Project Lands Planner Eric Langvardt, with Langvardt Design Group, said he understands that it’s a big project and the continued discussions are "just part of the process."
"As part of the SPA process it’s a little bit of a give and take sometimes and it can be a little frustrating because it’s not just black and white issues. We appreciate the council’s patience and diligent review of it," he said. "There are a lot of details and making sure we have them all right will benefit everyone."
The delay hasn’t affected the developer’s schedule, Langvardt said. Though he was quick to add that "we are anxious to get it approved and I think we are hopefully a week away." If that’s the case, Langvardt said "some dirt could be moved around up there at the latest, in spring."
"The challenging part is everyone thinks developers make a bunch of money, but there are a lot of risks," he said. "We are trying to mitigate that risk and give everyone what they want.
"I’m confident we will find that median and everyone will be happy where we end up," Langvardt said. "We’re just excited to move forward and next week is hopefully a big week for us."
The SPA deadline was extended through next month, but officials were adamant about readdressing the topic at the next County Council meeting Wednesday, June 3.
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