Mission statement could lead to lower development densities | ParkRecord.com

Mission statement could lead to lower development densities

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

With growth in the Park City area spilling over into rural eastern Summit County a new mission statement and rewrite of the planning goals for the East Side has advanced to the Summit County Council.

"We wanted to make sure they were in alignment with where the county is now," Eastern Summit County Planning Commissioner Diane Foster said.

The East Side Planning Commission ended a process that took several years Feb. 3 when it voted 6-0 in favor of the mission statement, goals and objectives. Planning Commissioner Mike Brown did not attend the meeting. The Summit County Council must vote on the document before it is approved.

Goals of the Planning Commission include: protecting the rural environment, promoting a mix in housing types, establishing expectations about levels of service that are compatible with the county’s ability to serve remote areas and planning policies that promote proper stewardship of natural resources. Some residents want housing on the East Side of Summit County to be affordable.

"We won’t force people to farm and ranch, but if they want to farm and ranch, we want to give them certain abilities," Foster said.

After embarking on the rewrite of its mission statement and goals, the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission spent a long time gathering public input about the changes. Though some eastsiders still earn their livings raising crops, people who have quit farming say development densities are too low for them to market their property to real-estate investors.

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"That’s a big one," Foster said.

Planning commissioners are exploring whether development densities should increase in some neighborhoods. Property owners who spent their careers farming now say their children and grandchildren do not want to live off the land.

The mission statement, goals and objectives are meant to guide the general plan and development code on the East Side of Summit County, county planners say.

But the documents should not make it difficult for some landowners to develop their property, Summit County Councilman David Ure said.

"The mission statement is more advisory In my opinion, the mission statement does not direct the code," Ure said in an interview. "When the Planning Commission turns down any kind of development just because they say it doesn’t fit the mission statement, but it fits the code, I thing we are inviting a lawsuit to come our direction."