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Basin may enter new era in planning

Help wanted: Intelligent people to make land-use decisions that seldom please anybody, salary: none.

Though an apt description for the job of a Snyderville Basin planning commissioner, this week the Summit County Commission finished interviewing 11 applicants to fill two open seats on the board.

Basin Planning Commissioners Tom Brennan and Bruce Taylor have announced they are retiring.

This week Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer praised Brennan for serving six years on the Basin Planning Commission.

"Tom has given us some great insight from the business side of things," Richer said.

Brennan, a banking executive in Park City, has "expanded his responsibilities" at work, Richer said, adding that Brennan will be traveling more to oversee banks in Colorado.

Summit County Planning Director Michael Barille joked that during his tenure Brennan showed his colleagues "that lack of parking is not a virtue."

"We certainly appreciate your perspectives and contribution and hope that your endeavors from here on out will be things that you can really enjoy on Tuesday night," Barille told Brennan and Taylor at the Sheldon Richins Building Tuesday.

Taylor retired after serving three consecutive terms, the limit for a Basin planning commissioner.

Richer explained that Taylor’s experience in architecture was his strength as a planning commissioner.

"We appreciate [Taylor’s] nine years on the Planning Commission," Richer said about Taylor’s three terms on the board. "Bruce’s great insights as an architect have really helped all of us in the county."

Next week the County Commission is expected to name two new Basin planning commissioners.

Those interviewed to replace Taylor and Brennan include: Lloyd Smith, Doyle Pergande, Michael O’Brien, Jennifer Hansen, Jim Hogan, Flint Decker, Dennis Chart, Benjamin Castro, Julie Hooker, John Ball and Robert Barron Mosteller.

This week Hooker, Pergande and Ball each spoke about traffic congestion at Kimball Junction in a second round of questioning with commissioners.

"It should have, and probably could have been looked at a little bit different," Pergande said.

Perhaps an overpass near Landmark Drive could lessen gridlock, he added.

"The first signal right there is really a killer," Pergande said.

He dismissed criticism that his position at the Jack Johnson Company development firm could create conflicts of interest if he were named to the Planning Commission.

"Only about 2 percent of our workload is in the Snyderville Basin," Pergande told the County Commission Wednesday. "I don’t see that conflict occurring very often, and if it does, I would just recuse myself."

Hooker teaches school and works to raise money for a Park City nonprofit.

"I can’t conceive of any conflict of interest with school teaching or my development job," she said.

Hooker praised Kimball Junction as a "really nice community."

"I can live at the junction very comfortably," she said.

Ball was grilled about his potential conflicts of interest because he is a lawyer at a firm that is suing Summit County.

"I don’t work on any of that case," he said about the lawsuit filed against the county by Summit Water Distribution Co. "I am not in it and I would not do anything for it."

But what happens when attorneys at the Parsons, Behle Latimer firm badmouth the county, Richer asked.

"My role as a planning commissioner is as an officer of the county," Ball responded, explaining that he is not "privy to any information about that case."

Meanwhile, development at Quinn’s Junction is a critical issue faced by planning commissioners, Pergande said.

"I see that as something that should be looked at very carefully," he said.

Hooker says what could impact western Summit County the most is growth on a large parcel of land at Kimball Junction that is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"That’s a huge issue," she said.

According to Ball, the project could "create an incredible amount of congestion."

Finally, Ball insists as a planning commissioner he would focus on preserving the history of the area.

"Historical preservation is very important," he said, adding, "I think they need to continue to do that."


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