New planning commissioners seated |

New planning commissioners seated


Tuesday was the first Snyderville Planning Commission meeting for the two newest members to the board.

The Summit County Council selected Annette Velarde and Michael Franklin from about a dozen applicants to replace chairwoman Katharine Kinsman and Jeff Smith. The council also accepted Commissioner Bassam Salem’s request for another term.

Annette Velarde, a resident of Silver Creek, said Thursday she has attended nearly every planning commission meeting during the past 18 months because she "found the process and transparency of land use decisions fascinating" and it was pertinent to her work in real estate-related industries.

Velarde has lived in the area since 2002 and said she asked to be on the commission to "participate fully in the progress and preservation of the Snyderville Basin area because it’s my community," she said.

The issues that come before the West-Side’s planning board are unique from those in Park City and on the East Side, Velarde said.

"The Snyderville Basin still has many opportunities for expansion and my goal is to ensure that growth is controlled, responsible, and as ‘green’ as possible," she added.

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Michael Franklin currently serves on the county’s Board of Adjustments, and plans to continue in that position as well until his term ends in November.

Franklin said the decisions made by boards of adjustments and by planning commissions interest him because of what he’s seen near his own home in Jeremy Ranch.

When he moved to the area 18 years ago, his neighborhood was one of the first. As he’s seen the subdivision grow, Franklin said he’s been surprised by the sprawl. Decisions on residential density are important, he said.

Also, after participating in the Leadership Park City program several years ago, Franklin said he’s motivated by a desire to give back to the community. One issue of concern, he said, is the need for affordable housing.

"We’ve got a huge service industry up here, and a lot of people just can’t afford to live close to work," he explained.

Bassam Salem, a resident of Glenwild, said he asked for another term because he really enjoys being involved in the community this way.

As a software executive, Salem said he has no conflicts of interest or "inside issues" he follows.

He said he enjoys serving on homeowner association boards and working with nonprofit groups.

"I feel that being in politics at a federal scale it is hard to make an impact, you can at the local level like this," he added.