Letters to the Editor, March 19-22, 2011 | ParkRecord.com

Letters to the Editor, March 19-22, 2011

Shrinking Coalville? Blame land policies


It’s ironic that Coalville was named as the only city in Summit County not growing given the current eastern Summit County development policies. It’s also not a surprise to see it’s shrinking. This should be a wake up call to the East Side Summit County Planning Commission that its archaic development policy needs to revamped to allow for more single-family home development.

Given the high cost of land, very few young people from my generation (mid 30s) and younger can afford to live in eastern Summit County without having land given to us from parents and grandparents. Often, for those living outside of the city limits of Coalville to build a family development, major acreage must be dedicated to meet the planning department policy. This becomes difficult for parents and grandparents when farming still needs to be a major use for the land. To give children and grandchildren an acre each isn’t a problem, but when 5+ acres each are required, it either reduces farmland too much or excludes a family’s other children from building. It was exactly this circumstance my family faced when we tried to develop a 90-acre farm my grandparents own. Twenty of the acres are buildable, but only four of us could have built homes.

I understand the need to prevent developers from buying up large plots of land and building "cookie cutter" homes. I do, however; find it hard to believe the current policy can’t be modified to allow for the young people of the community to build a home on property owned by family members. Under the current development policy, local businesses will continue to be stifled or fail, young people will graduate from high school or college and leave for other communities like Kamas, Oakley, or away completely, tax revenue will shrink with the population, and Coalville and the immediate area will eventually disappear. This to maintain a few individual opinions within Summit County planning division that any growth is bad growth. If county officials want to fix the ever-growing economic downturn in the Coalville area, stave off a shrinking population, and address the animosity towards a view of a lack of property rights, fix the problem, don’t simply address the symptoms.

Riley Siddoway