Council denies Stone Ridge
March 30, 2012
The decade-long debate over the proposed Stone Ridge development seemed to come to an end Wednesday night when the County Council voted 4 to 1 to deny the project. At issue was a plan to place 230 homes on 300 acres between Old Ranch Road and Trailside Drive.
The development, which first appeared before the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission in a different form almost 10 years ago, was revived and presented to the Commission in 2009. Developer Pete Gillwald, appearing on behalf of landowner Nadine Gilmor, proposed a CORE project that would preserve 80 percent of the development’s 300 acres for open space and include 72 workforce housing units, allowing the development to have significantly more than the eight units that the area was zoned for.
Nearby residents have expressed outrage over the project since the beginning and the Basin Planning Commission said they gave the project their approval not because they liked the project, but because they felt there was nothing else they could do due to previously invested development rights.
Nearly 200 concerned residents overflowed from the Sheldon Richins building during the public hearing prior to the Council’s vote on Wednesday. One after another took the microphone to explain to the Council why they felt the development shouldn’t be built.
Art Lang, a member of the group Citizens for the Alignment of Growth and the Environment (CAGE), which has vocally opposed the development for months and helped garner public interest toward it, quoted to the Council segments of the County’s General Plan and County Code, pointing out 13 legal reasons the project should be overturned.
"The project did not do enough to mitigate the effect on wildlife despite the developers increase of the wildlife corridor," Lang said. "And the code says all developments must match the existing contour of the land and the roads that have to be cut for this do match the land and will be an eyesore that will be seen from the entire Basin."
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Other residents pointed out flaws with the development including its segregation of the workforce housing units, the effect it would have on Trailside Elementary School and the traffic impacts it would have on the surrounding neighborhood roads.
"It would take workers living in the affordable housing units an hour to get to their jobs or even just go get milk on the bus line that goes to the area," Mountain Ranch Estate resident and Christian Center employee Sharon Mardula said. "You guys [County Councilors] are here tonight representing our interests and making decisions for all of us."
Basin resident Jennifer Lipman said she moved her family to Park City to avoid developments just like Stone Ridge and by approving it, the Council would be ruining the "cool mountain town environment" that draws tourists.
After listening to over three hours of public comment, the Council voted 4-1 to deny the project. Council Member Dave Ure voted for the project, saying he thought it was better to have the Council determine the outcome of the project then the courts.
"I don’t feel like we got closure on the project and it is not going to go away," Ure said. "Since we killed the proposal, the applicant no longer can be processed under the 1998 code and loses 50-60 percent of their density rights, that’s why I feel we will be sued."
Ure added that despite voting for the project, he learned many things from the public input beforehand and was grateful for everyone who spoke.
"Many people spoke on reasoning and said we don’t want this exact proposal. That is why I wanted us to approve the project and work it through and find something that would fit the community," he said.
The other council members said they saw various things about the proposed development that could work, but overall, it seemed too big and was not in the best interest of the community or provide enough community benefits.