Critics slam housing project, Basin Planning Commission |

Critics slam housing project, Basin Planning Commission

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Some homeowners near Old Ranch Road have asked the state Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman to investigate whether a proposed 250-unit residential subdivision would violate land use laws in the Snyderville Basin.

The Stone Ridge project could provide the Park City area with about 65 deed-restricted homes for people earning from 40 to 80 percent of the annual area median income, which is roughly $93,000. The development application is significant because it is one of the first being considered under a set of guidelines meant to encourage the building of affordable housing.

However, the 300-acre Stone Ridge proposal is sandwiched between Silver Summit and Old Ranch Road and is a popular spot for hikers and mountain bikers. Situated near the Swaner EcoCenter, planning officials have struggled to determine whether the project’s density and traffic impacts would overrun the rural neighborhood.

"Park City is a city of neighborhoods and Old Ranch Road is the only rural area," said Basin resident Jill Sheinberg, who is against the project.

At a Jan. 12 meeting at the Sheldon Richins Building the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission is scheduled to begin a public input session regarding the Stone Ridge proposal at 6 p.m.

Critics say the neighborhood along Old Ranch Road is not compatible with dense residential development.

"We vigorously oppose using [provisions] of the code to shoehorn into the Old Ranch Road neighborhood unacceptably high densities in order to justify the applicant’s purchase price for the project site and to [ensure] a profit to the applicants," state documents the Old Ranch Road Neighborhood Group filed with the property rights ombudsman Dec. 29.

Basin resident Gary Nielsen said he filed the "request for an advisory opinion" because the Basin Planning Commission seems bent on seeing the project approved while shutting neighbors out of the discussions.

"Ladies and gentlemen, your Planning Commission has run amok and they don’t seem to want you to know about this," said Nielsen, complaining Wednesday to the Summit County Council.

Councilpersons appoint Basin planning commissioners.

"I am here tonight because many of us are angry," Nielsen told the County Council in Coalville. "I and others believe certain things need to be said at this public input session, and we don’t think you appreciate the depth of the anger in the community over these matters."

Planning Commission work sessions when the Stone Ridge project was discussed were not properly noticed to the public, residents charge.

"They didn’t want us there," said Basin resident Debi Scoggan, who is against the Stone Ridge proposal. "We feel that we can’t get a fair trial."

She complained that Basin planning commissioners have not allowed members of the public to speak at past meetings.

County officials have stressed the importance of developing more work force housing on the West Side because home prices in the Park City area are not affordable.

But in their zeal to send to the County Council the first recommendation of a project containing work force housing, Nielsen said the Basin Planning Commission has ignored Snyderville Basin land use laws.

"Under all the circumstances, our neighborhood group is of the opinion that the only way to rectify this situation is for the current members of the [Planning Commission] to recuse themselves," Nielsen states in his request for the state property rights ombudsman to intervene in the dispute.

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