Basin Planning Commission is concerned about traffic new development would create
August 3, 2010
The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission did not make a decision last week about whether to support a proposed 1,100 unit subdivision in Silver Creek.
Commissioners say they are concerned that the Silver Creek Village Center would seriously impact traffic near the intersection of Silver Creek Drive and the North Pace Frontage Road. The developer hopes to build about 1,100 homes and 50,000 square feet of commercial development on about 245 acres. The proposal is southeast of the intersection of U.S. 40 and Interstate 80.
Bob Larsen Investors LLC owns the land, which sits undeveloped near the edge of the Silver Creek Commerce Center and Business Park, north of Burt Brothers Tire and Service, The Home Depot and 7-Eleven.
At a public hearing July 27, Snyderville Basin resident Richard Thomas said he is concerned that roads in the area cannot handle the traffic generated by the new development.
"I’m wondering how all that traffic is going to get taken care of going on the little tiny road down by Burt Brothers," Thomas said.
He said cars will use residential streets to cut through Silver Summit, Trailside and Highland Estates to get to the proposed development.
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"What are they going to do with all those cars?" Thomas asked. "Where are they going to go?"
The builders have proposed constructing two roundabouts in the area to help guide traffic through the intersection onto U.S. 40.
A major collision at one of the traffic circles could back up cars for several blocks, Snyderville Basin resident Jerry Wohlford told the Basin Planning Commission.
"It’s going to block everybody, in every direction," Wohlford said. "The roundabout is going to be a major issue just because it is the only way out of there."
But having a supermarket nearby could help decrease traffic, Basin Planning Commissioner Sibyl Bogardus said.
"Some sort of store where there is going to be milk, eggs and bread," Bogardus said.
Still, Basin resident Mark Vernon complained that the proposal is just too large. He said the Silver Creek Village Center would become one of the densest communities in the state.
"It think it’s important that we get a real feel for the density," Vernon said.
Roughly 205 units at the Silver Creek Village Center could be restricted work force housing for buyers earning between 80 and 130 percent of the annual area median income, which is about $93,300 in the Snyderville Basin.
"I don’t think we need restricted housing for somebody earning $130,000 per year," Vernon said.
Because the application was first submitted in the 1990s planners are reviewing the proposal under an expired development code. The rules allowed builders to have more density for their projects if they provided community benefits such as trails, parks and affordable housing.
However, the proposal doesn’t provide enough community benefits to justify the number of units the developer hopes to build, members of the Planning Commission said.
"It doesn’t knock your socks off," Basin Planning Commissioner Mike Washington said.
Basin Planning Commission Chairwoman Kathy Kinsman said traffic and density are her biggest concerns.
"We like the location. We like the concept," Kinsman said. "You’re on the right track, but unfortunately we’re not ready to move forward."
According to Summit County planner Jennifer Strader, "it’s up to the Planning Commission to determine whether or not those benefits yield the density that is being proposed."
Expressing frustration, Jeff Graham, who is overseeing development of the project, said he needs more guidance from the Planning Commission.
"We’re a little confused here," Graham said. "Look at what this project is doing as a whole for the community in comparison to other projects."
Buildings are clustered on the property so most of the 245-acre site can remain as open space. Part of the land will be set aside for a community garden.
"Community gardens are increasingly popular," said Eric Langvardt, project planner for the Silver Creek Village Center.
The development will also be built in accordance with guidelines set out by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
"We’re extremely excited about it," Langvardt said. "It’s just the right thing to do."