Guest Editorial |

Guest Editorial

the Summit County Board of Commissioners Bob Richer, Chair, Ken Woolstenhulme and Sally Elliott

In an effort to clarify Summit County’s position regarding the federal fair housing lawsuit and claims alleged by Anderson Development’s attorneys and to tell the other side of the story, we prepared a press release dealing with the latest stated media event. Unfortunately, The Park Record used a very small portion of our response in their story of Jan. 11.

We appreciate The Park Record printing our press release in its entirety as follows:

The public should not be misled by developers’ attorneys’ efforts outside the courtroom, where the case is pending and the issues will be properly decided, to mischaracterize the county’s position on providing fair and affordable housing in Summit County. As the county’s filings make clear, the county, along with Park City, Oakley City and the Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, has taken a leadership role in not only adopting but also aggressively supporting and enforcing affordable housing programs in Summit County. Few counties of this size could boast of such broad-based, affordable housing programs, and it is instructive that many of these same owners and developers, represented by these very same attorneys, have embarked on an extensive pattern of litigation in both the state and federal courts involving more than eight separate legal actions, all seeking to invalidate the county’s land-use polices and have the courts legislate new land-use regulations in their favor.

This case simply presents a different legal tact. But as the county’s filings in this case make clear, the exhibit to which the plaintiffs’ attorneys refer is a list of data from the Summit County Assessor’s office identifying housing units or properties which meet federal and state affordability criteria, based upon the assessed values of the property. The county has never said it was anything else, and has never relied upon that list to establish compliance with the Utah Moderate Income Housing law at issue, because that law expressly does not require any particular number of moderate income housing units, but instead requires that counties have a plan to address moderate income housing needs.

The county has such a plan and has stated in its court filings that it is in compliance with the Utah law. Plaintiffs’ attempts to characterize these filings outside the established judicial process should be seen for what they are: An attempt to improperly pressure duly elected county officials to accede to their personal development agendas.

Regardless of the plaintiff’s attorney’s attempts today to divert attention from the real focus of this matter, Summit County will continue to honor its commitment to provide affordable housing and continue to comply with state and federal law.

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