Group appeals condo project design in Newpark
August 7, 2018
Newpark community members are still fighting the design and approval of a controversial condominium project near the amphitheater, planning to take the matter before the Summit County Council on Wednesday.
An application was filed with the Summit County Planning and Building Department at the end of June appealing County Manager Tom Fisher's decision to approve the design of the seven-unit project in the space south of Maxwell's East Coast Eatery in the Newpark Town Center. It is currently occupied by a parking lot adjacent to the amphitheater.
Members of Preserve the Newpark Plaza, LLC, filed the application on June 28 appealing Fisher's approval of the final plat and site plan earlier that day. The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission forwarded Fisher a positive recommendation for the project in February.
The County Council will now make a decision.
Brothers Ryan and Matthew Crandall, partners of Crandall Capital, are overseeing the project. Their father, Gary Crandall, currently owns all of the property south of the Newpark Hotel, such as the amphitheater, obelisk and surrounding property, including the parking pad building site. Gary Crandall is the proprietor under the Newpark Retail, LLC.
The development rights for the property were approved in December of 2002. The development agreement stipulated that any proposal would only require a final subdivision plat and site plan review process.
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Ryan Crandall said while they anticipated an appeal, they still plan to break ground on the project sometime this week.
The parking lot where the building will be located has been fenced off in preparation of the construction. The Crandalls have secured a permit to begin installing the utilities, but still need to obtain a building permit. Construction of the building is expected to take about 10 months.
"The appeal is not stopping any of that," he said. "They're not appealing us, they are appealing the county. We shouldn't be penalized."
Preserve the Newpark Plaza's appeal application cited concerns about the architectural design, including the building height and layout of the project. The application claims the buildings surrounding the sun calendar plaza are required to have "architectural enrichment and variety," as well as "special icon treatment."
"The sun calendar plaza is the centerpiece of Newpark," the application states. "All preliminary site plans identify that the intent for the parcel is to have retail on the main floor and residential (if at all) on the second and third stories."
Those opposed to the project have said it will encroach upon the Newpark Town Plaza and reduce, they've claimed, one of the only gathering spaces in the Kimball Junction area. The amphitheater has grown increasingly popular as a gathering spot during warmer months with outdoor concerts frequently hosted there. However, the concerts were not held this year in anticipation of the construction.
The Summit County Attorney's Office maintains Fisher did not err in approving the final site plan and plat. According to a staff report prepared by Chief Civil Deputy Attorney Dave Thomas, the market conditions clause is at the center of the appeal.
The staff report states that the clause provides flexibility for property owners to respond to the market while at the same time "conforming to principles required to create a true town center." The report claims landowners throughout Newpark have used the clause for other projects.
"Unfortunately, such is the fate of the last to development within a development area," the report states. "Those who proceeded them want to shut the door and keep the status quo… Now the last developer seeks to use it, the previous developers have buyer's remorse."
Crandall said the law is on their side and is fairly confident the county manager's approval will be upheld.
"Preserve the Plaza members have used this to their advantage several times," he said. "I don't know why they keep pushing us back. If we have to, we will take this to court and then this could take longer and we will not be having concerts again next year. They are trying to prevent the inevitable and hurting the community in the process."
Crandall was sympathetic to the concerns about the impacts the project would have on the space, but, he added, "It will still be there. Only instead of a parking lot it will be a building. There will still be concerts."
"The homeowners will be paying dues that can go back into events and repairs to make sure it is a vibrant and beautiful gathering space," he said. "Just because you don't like something doesn't mean someone doesn't have a right to build it. People's opinions are trying to outweigh facts."