County Manager may have final say for Research Park
To appease the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission and encourage a stronger relationship with the Boyer Company, the Summit County Council is considering replacing Don Sargent with Bob Jasper as the county representative for the Boyer Research Park.
According to the development agreement between Summit County and Boyer, the Community Development Director currently controls the final approval for design elements and projects being built in the Boyer Research Park. The research park is expected to include 1.2 million square feet of office space and workforce housing.
However, Sargent ran afoul of the Planning Commission and contributed to the resignation of former commissioner Julie Hooker when he overruled the Commission’s negative recommendation of Boyer’s first building.
Jasper said the Commission’s recommendation that he assume Sargent’s responsibility for approving the Research Park makes sense because Sargent never should have been placed in that position to begin with.
"That is a very big project that will affect the community for years to come and it was a mistake to have a staff member placed in the position of having to give final approval or denial," Jasper said. "If someone has to take the heat for this project, it should be the county manager because I still answer to the Council but have more authority."
Council member Claudia McMullin said there was a lot of pushback from the Planning Commission because the work they put into making a recommendation regarding Boyer could be overturned by one staff member.
"The thinking was ‘who else could have this position that is still a staff member and has to answer to the Council,’ and Jasper was really one of our only options," she said.
Planning Commissioner Bassam Salem said his personal opinion is that the county should clear Sargent’s name and restore credibility to his position instead of working around the issue by appointing Jasper to fill in on certain issues.
"We need to solve the root cause of the problem instead of just coming up with temporary solutions," he said. "We should have a backup decision-maker in place in case the Community Development Director chooses to recuse himself due to conflict of interest. Right now, we are taking away Sargent’s credibility then saying maybe his boss is the answer."
The County Council will decide if Jasper should be appointed to be the county representative for the Boyer Research Park at a later date.
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The planning committee and the newly formed task forces will continue to work on the master planning priorities and will present to the Board of Education at its meeting Dec. 17.