Kimball Village expansion seems OK
February 10, 2012
Summit County Council members on Wednesday said they would most likely approve the 50,000 square foot expansion of The Village at Kimball Junction even though developers said they would not be installing a natural gas fueling station.
The expansion of The Village would include four new commercial businesses, a Del Taco, a fuel center, a bank and the expansion of Smith’s Food and Drug by 11,000 square feet. The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission recommended the area be rezoned to a specially planned area (SPA) in January.
The workforce housing, a requirement of any SPA project, is proposed to be located in the northeast corner of the Village, behind the current T.J. Maxx building. Summit County Planner Tiffany Northrup-Robinson told the Council that the workforce housing building had been rotated on the lot so that it was no longer blocking the view of the Cottonwood Building, appeasing the concerns of the Cottonwood partners. Many residents told the Planning Commission that the 34-unit workforce housing building seemed out of place, but the County Council said the area is well suited for the use due to its walkability and access to the bus line.
Council member Sally Elliott’s main concern was whether the fuel center would have a natural gas pump.
"This is kind of a deal breaker for me," Elliott said. "Parking and ownership lines should not make a difference. That is the point of a SPA rezone. This would be one of the only natural gas stations in the area and I think that is important."
Smith’s representative Steve Sorenson told the Council that when he had looked into getting the natural gas compressor installed, he found they did not have adequate space and would need to change the layout of the entire development to make it work.
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"We would need a 40-by-70 foot area to fit the compressor and to rearrange everything to make that work is not worth it because there is not that much of a market for natural gas right now," Sorenson said, "We have put over three years and a lot of money into this project to have natural gas be the deal breaker."
Sorenson told Elliott that he would consider adding natural gas in the future if the demand for it increased and better machinery becomes available.
Bret Wahlen, lead representative on the project, said that infill projects such as this one are the most difficult and everyone is trying to make the best out of the situation.
"All the owners of the different businesses have their own interests in this project," Wahlen said. "Some are owned by banks, some have leases, some were tied up in a lawsuit. We thought this project would fail many times but everyone has really pulled through to try to make it happen. Economically, we can’t just wipe the area clean and start over."
Wahlen said he wants to move forward with the rezone and expansion as soon as possible. A public hearing for a SPA rezone is tentatively scheduled for next week.