Incoming Summit County Council chair Doug Clyde eager to take on new role
Doug Clyde says one thing will almost certainly change when he becomes the next chair of the Summit County Council in early January.
“I’ll probably talk more,” he said with a laugh. “Might hear from me a little bit more directly on certain things.”
Clyde is quiet in most County Council meetings, often declining to chime in during the “council comments” portion and rarely addressing questions to those making presentations. He says the reason why is relatively simple.
“I like to listen before I speak,” he said. “Often, that’s the most important thing that occurs — getting the public involved in getting information to us. I certainly have strong opinions I’m not afraid to voice, but I don’t spend a lot of time in casual banter, as it were.”
Clyde pointed to water quality, fire mitigation efforts and an impending decision about what to do with the county’s solid waste as big things on the agenda for the coming year. He also said the council will continue to work toward implementing its five strategic goals, and will continue negotiations with Park City over a new transportation interlocal agreement (ILA).
“That’s a priority,” he said. “I think everyone realizes the ILA was drafted at a time when the county was far less involved. … We’ve got to get the ILA edited and approved in a manner that gives the county more information and more control.”
Clyde joined the County Council in 2017 after years on the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission. He lives in Oakley and is the only East Side representative on the body. He is currently the council’s vice-chair and, traditionally, the person in that position becomes the chair the following year. It is expected that, after a pro forma vote at the first meeting in January, Clyde will take over for Roger Armstrong and Glenn Wright will be named the vice-chair.
Armstrong sits in the middle of the dais and often serves as a sort of spokesperson for the council by calling for motions, addressing the presenters, keeping the meeting running, asking questions and at times providing context for an issue during a public hearing.
Clyde described the responsibilities of the position as essentially running a legal meeting, which, while he was never the chair of the planning commission, he anticipates he’ll be able to accomplish it without much trouble.
“I’ve been one side of the dais or the other for the last 40 years,” he said. “The only thing that’s daunting is just the amount of work that goes through it.”
He said the chair is responsible for a lot of the behind-the-scenes communication to ensure the council is meeting with all the dependent boards and independent bodies that rely on it for their work. He said there will be many more phone calls to return and emails to write in the new position, but that he’ll be able to take a step away from his day job as a land-entitlement consultant.
“Good news is, I’m self employed, it’s a self-inflicted wound; I knew I was going to have significantly less time for clients than in the past,” he said. “You know, it’s certainly a lot more work. It’s what I signed up for.”
His career has focused on what he called “extremely complex” entitlement issues, and he has had a hand in the development of many large projects since he came to Park City in the late 1970s, including Empire Pass, Montage Deer Valley and the Park City Mountain Resort base, he said.
His work focuses on advising developments through the government approval process, and he said he anticipates he’ll lean on his extensive experience in issues like water quality while overseeing the County Council.
He said some of his proudest accomplishments from his time serving on the council were adopting zoning changes for the East Side and tightening up water regulations.
The best meetings, though, are the ones when the council acts as a quasi-judicial body and rules on appeals for things like land-use issues, he said.
“You might wander into them thinking, ‘Gee, I know the answer,’ but that’s before you’ve read the 500 pages (of background material),” he said. “It’s not unusual for me to change my mind once I’ve done the work.”
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City Hall in December posted strong sales-tax numbers, powering past projections and nearly equaling the figure from the same month in the previous year, as Park City continued to beat expectations amid the continued spread of the novel coronavirus. The numbers in December show the Park City economy still was roaring during the first full month of the ski season.