Snyderville Basin planning panel endorses housing project on Bitner Road | ParkRecord.com

Snyderville Basin planning panel endorses housing project on Bitner Road

The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission endorsed a proposal last week for a housing project on Bitner Road, marking the first time the planning panel has approved a new development since the adoption of the General Plan in 2015.

Planning Commissioners spent nearly four hours reviewing the mixed-use proposal, referred to as Lincoln Station, before agreeing to forward a positive recommendation on all of the applications for the project. The development is proposed on a four-acre parcel on Bitner Road, east of the Park City Fire District's administrative offices and includes a significant affordable housing component.

Crisco Development LLC, a Park City-based development firm, requested to rezone the property from rural residential to community commercial to allow for more development. The property is currently zoned to allow one residential unit per 20 acres. In a community commercial zone, multi-family residential units are allowed through a conditional-use permit process.

The Summit County Council will be the ultimate authority over the rezone request and development agreement, but Planning Commissioners approved the conditional use permit and endorsed the development agreement and rezone with a 5-1 vote. Commissioners Thomas Cooke, Joel Fine, Canice Harte, John Kucera and Bea Peck voted in favor of the proposal. Commissioner Ryan Dickey cast the dissenting vote. Malena Stevens was not at the meeting.

Lincoln Station would consist of 10 townhomes, 36 one-bedroom and 32 two-bedroom apartments, as well as 5,000 square feet of commercial space. Of the 78 units, 31 would be deed restricted, which is more units than what a developer is required to provide under the Basin's development code.

The affordable housing component was critical to the Planning Commissioners' decision. A significant amount of their discussion focused on whether the project violated the General Plan's Policy 2.3 that restricts new development or if the affordable housing element presented a "compelling countervailing public interest" necessary to override the policy.

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"I think 2.3 has raised the bar and I think the community has seen better projects as a whole because of that policy," Harte said.

More than a dozen people attended the hearing, with most offering their support for the development. Resident Marian Crosby said the location is ideal for a mixed-use project.

"The developer is filling a public need," she told commissioners. "I think we have put off addressing our entry-level housing need long enough and we need to do better than that."

Joy Bitner, who lives nearby, was raised next door to the property. While she said the land has not been used, she encouraged repurposing it for low-income families.

"It's not fair that people with money are the only ones who should be able to move into Park City," she said during the meeting. "We have a lot of open land around our ranch and we love it. A lot of it will be open for many years, but a lot of it is fit for development. This is a great development and the Bitners support it."

Others disagreed with the location and felt a mixed-use project would add more traffic to the area. Commissioner Dickey said having a commercial element would actually add more employees and add to the need for more affordable housing.

"How many jobs are we creating with this additional commercial space?" he said. "I think we could have a great debate about whether an additional 5,000-foot commercial space is a benefit or adds the need for more units."

The developer agreed to explore whether the commercial space could be reduced to include more deed-restricted units. However, the commercial component is necessary for a mixed-use development, and altering it could interfere with the rezone request.

The project will now be reviewed by the County Council. The approval of the conditional-use permit is pending the outcome of the Council's decision on the rezone and development agreement.