Hideout planning commissioners offer vision for Richardson Flat, suggest slashing residential density proposed by developer
The Hideout Planning Commission on Monday offered its recommendations to shape the development it would like to see on Richardson Flat, slashing the number of residential units proposed by the developer and proposing new amenities and commercial space.
It was the most transparent public discussion to date about the town’s contentious annexation attempt that has seen more lawsuits than opportunities for public commentary. Hideout officials have repeatedly decried the lack of commercial services like grocery stores in the area, and the distance from public schools, but so far have not discussed in-depth specifics about how many and what type of homes and businesses it would welcome in its new town center, and what sort of transportation, parks and parking solutions it would seek.
The Planning Commission’s recommendation, forwarded unanimously by the four commissioners in attendance, is intended to inform the Town Council’s upcoming deliberations on an annexation master development agreement with developer Nate Brockbank.
Hideout, a Wasatch County town of around 1,000 residents, is seeking to annex 350 acres of Richardson Flat in Summit County into its boundaries so it can control how and whether it is developed. Park City and Summit County are trying to stop the attempt in court, but Hideout planning commissioners said it was their duty to proceed as though the annexation would occur and to craft the sort of project that would benefit Hideout residents.
“We have a blank slate,” acting Planning Commission Chair Ralph Severini said Monday night. “So we can go back to Nate (Brockbank) and tell him — or, you know, suggest, obviously it’s all recommendations — but we can recommend three houses like the Summit County and Park City zoning has currently, at one house to 120 acres. We could go all the way back to that standpoint. Sky’s the limit here.”
Commissioners did not propose such a drastic cut in density, but they did recommend a reduction of residential units by about half, cutting Brockbank’s proposed 836 units to 400. They also increased the commercial square footage by half, to 125,000 square feet, and requested the developer do away with high-density townhomes.
A representative for the developer said Tuesday that they were waiting to receive complete information about the Planning Commission’s recommendations and would reserve comment until that time.
The Town Council was slated to hold a work session on the proposed master development agreement Tuesday evening, after The Park Record’s press deadline. On Oct. 12, the council plans to hold the first public hearing about the proposed annexation since a mid-August attempt failed and ended an earlier bid to annex the land.
The council is expected to adopt a master development agreement with the developer at the same time as it annexes the land, if it decides to do so. Oct. 12 would be the first opportunity to vote on the proposal.
Officials from Summit County and Park City sent letters to the Hideout Planning Commission urging the town to slow down and reconsider the annexation, citing potentially massive liabilities related to the area’s legacy of serving as a mining repository and claiming no agreement exists or has been discussed to provide municipal services like law enforcement, fire fighting, education or water and sewer services to the area.
Multiple commissioners Monday indicated that contamination was their top concern. The first “core condition” in a set of proposed recommendations to the Town Council is that the site meets or exceeds all federal, state and local environmental standards. Specifics about how such a recommendation would be enforced were not included and might not be settled until more detailed agreements are forged later in the development process.
Monday’s meeting was unusual compared to the normal development approval for land in Summit County, with commissioners essentially creating a wish list for what they hoped the development would look like. The town’s attorney and planner advised commissioners to create a complete list of what they wanted from the developer because the Planning Commission would lose the chance to expand it once an agreement is finalized.
Brockbank has said previously that the development would be Hideout’s new town center, and that he wanted to hear how the town wanted it crafted.
Severini drafted a preliminary list of recommendations that served as the basis for the commission’s discussions. It included extending a proposed chairlift from the top of what developers are dubbing Richardson Peak down into nearby developments to allow Hideout residents access to the town center without driving.
Commissioners also requested the ability to access nearby ski areas using public transit.
The recommendations indicate that the town does not want the development to include big-box stores or fast food restaurants. Commissioners also rejected the notion of multifamily housing in the form of multiple attached townhomes, indicating that duplexes would be the largest that would be acceptable. Multiple commissioners indicated the area already had enough multiple attached townhomes and that they preferred single-family homes with larger lots.
The developer had indicated that type of townhome would help provide enough density to make the affordable housing component viable.
Commissioners implemented a request for 20% of the density to be allocated to affordable housing, mirroring a requirement in the Snyderville Basin Development Code. No such requirement exists in the Hideout Town Code, commissioners were told.
Commissioners did not offer specific recommendations of what zoning to apply to different areas of the development. In discussing whether a hotel would be appropriate near the town center, commissioners indicated reluctance for that type of development, but were told by town staff that such a project would be allowed if the area was zoned for commercial uses.
In suggesting an increase in the amount of commercial density, the commissioners said the development would achieve its initial goal of providing services like restaurants and a grocery store to residents. The recommendation included a requirement that commercial services be built within the initial three phases of development.
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