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General Plan update targeted for spring

Caroline Kingsley, The Park Record

The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission has been working on a General Plan update since 2009, and members are hoping to have the first phase finished by spring.

"There’s a driving force to get phase one of the General Plan in place so it can be the document that will guide the future applications that are on the horizon and not miss that opportunity," Summit County Planning Director Don Sargent said. "But at the same time we want to make sure we have given the citizens every opportunity to provide input."

Some Summit County residents, however, are wondering why the rush.

"My opinion is, before we rush to change the General Plan, we need to have a formal envisioning process," said political activist Craig Eroh, who has been attempting to garner public support to get involved in the General Plan update process. "I think it’s cheaper in the long run to do things once and do them right. We do not believe, as Don Sargent believes, that the work and process has already been done."

Sargent countered that if the county goes through a complete process of envisioning and public input, it could take another year to get phase one in place.

"Within that year, we could lose the very thing we’re trying to protect," he continued. "If we don’t get this done in a timely fashion before this next building season, if we don’t have some of these provisions in place in a revised General Plan, we’re going to miss opportunities to apply and capture what we’re trying to do here in making the Snyderville Basin remain a special place."

Sargent added that the Planning Commission has had 43 public meetings specific to the General Plan since 2009.

"That’s a pretty substantial amount of public meetings for the General Plan," he said. "Six of them were this year. Is it enough? Absolutely not. We do need more. We have this in a semi-final form and we need to know if we’ve been hitting the mark, and what else we can do to satisfy the community’s desires."

Another concern raised by Eroh involved changes made to the neighborhood segment of the General Plan.

"They have had meetings where supposedly they were going to clear up language in the General Plan and make it easier for the staff to administer," he said. "These changes they are advocating in particular are the ones having to do with the neighborhood plans, which are being contemplated without ever being reviewed by members of the neighborhood that will be affected by this."

Sargent explained that before they began updating the General Plan, there was a lot of redundancy in the neighborhood plans. In some instances, there was language in each neighborhood plan that could apply to all neighborhoods. In other instances, language in the neighborhood plans was also in other sections of the General Plan.

"For example, that trail connections should be maintained is a General Plan statement that is applicable to all neighborhoods," he said. "So any language that was within the neighborhoods that was in every neighborhood plan, we took out and put it into an element of the General Plan itself."

Sargent acknowledged that residents might see the new proposed neighborhood plans are shortened to half a page and fear the county has "gutted the neighborhood."

"And that isn’t the case," he reiterated. "We’ve taken that language that’s subject to all the neighborhoods and put it into another element of the General Plan so it does not get confusing on what is desired for the entire Snyderville Basin, leaving only those characteristics or provisions of the neighborhoods that are unique to them."

With the language now more focused, the Planning Commission intends to invite residents to provide comment concerning their neighborhood visions, so the uniqueness of their neighborhoods can be captured in the General Plan, he said.

"We want to make sure we have ample opportunities for everyone to discuss and provide comment to us," he said. "That’s why we’re having two meetings about the neighborhood plans just to make sure we’re covering that."

This week, the Planning Commission will also be providing a link on the Summit County website at http://www.summitcounty.org that will give residents access to the background and latest status of the General Plan update.

General Plan meetings

All meetings will be held at 6 p.m. at the Sheldon Richins Building, located at 1885 West Ute Blvd.

  • Jan. 8: work session to verify the Dec. 4 General Plan edits
  • Jan. 22: Public hearing on the overall General Plan, excluding neighborhood plans
  • Feb. 12: Public hearing on the neighborhood plans
  • Feb. 26: Public hearing on the neighborhood plans


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