Summit County Council approves vision for Kimball Junction, next step for staff is getting there |

Summit County Council approves vision for Kimball Junction, next step for staff is getting there

The County Council adopted the Kimball Junction Neighborhood Plan at its June 19 meeting. The plan calls for more pedestrian- and biker-friendly connectivity and a more coherent neighborhood feel.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

More than two years after a citizen commission started the ball rolling, the Summit County Council approved the Kimball Junction Neighborhood Plan at its meeting Wednesday night.

The document sets out the county’s vision and goals for the sprawling residential and commercial area that serves as the gateway to Park City from Interstate 80.

Councilors, including Chris Robinson, praised the effort of county staff as well as the final product.

“I don’t think we’ve changed much in this document,” Robinson said. “That’s not generally our wont; we like to tweak things. I think that’s a testament to you guys doing a really good job.”

Pat Putt, the county’s community development director, said in an interview the document sets out the “why” behind zoning decisions for Kimball Junction, and the next step is to work out the “how,” or what he called the “real nuts and bolts regulations” that will govern how development and redevelopment will occur.

County officials have called this document the “vision” or “notion” for the area, and future planning processes will codify things like how tall buildings can be or how many people will live in the area.

Councilor Doug Clyde said specifics like “how much shadow (a building) will cast … are zoning issues, not general plan issues.”

“We will get to that as we go through this process as developers come in and say, ‘Hey, we want to do the following,’” Clyde said. “…With issues like traffic and transit, that’s where that stuff comes into play, at the other end of this process.”

The vision outlined in the neighborhood plan is to create a coherent walkable and bikeable neighborhood with community gathering spaces and less of a focus on vehicle traffic.

Putt described it as a move toward creating a neighborhood that’s “more complete, more whole” and “beyond just a regional shopping center.”

“Can we create a regional area that’s self-contained, meaning if you lived there, you could live, work, shop and recreate without always having to get in a car and drive several miles to have those needs met?” Putt asked.

Now that the vision has been laid out, the next step is to create the sort of “zoning tools” the county government can use to try to bring it about.

One potential new tool, which the neighborhood plan calls for, is amending the zoning code to include a neighborhood mixed-use zoning district, which would be a first in the county.

That sort of zoning would integrate residential, retail and service uses, like a building that has shops on the first floor, apartments above and green space for the public.

Putt said his office has been exploring the idea of creating a mixed-use designation for more than three years, and is still working out what it would entail.

A draft of the neighborhood mixed-use zoning includes ideas like adding density in exchange for more affordable housing or entirely underground parking. Putt mentioned the possibility of allowing increased height allowances for buildings in exchange for more open space.

He anticipates the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission and the County Council will discuss the issue during a joint meeting July 10 to make sure they are on the same page and determine the best way to achieve the goals outlined in the neighborhood plan.

Many of the 16 neighborhoods identified in the 2015 Snyderville Basin General Plan have designated mixed-use areas in maps of their future land use, including Kimball Junction.

Putt said one of the biggest takeaways from the process is the importance of public engagement, a point Councilor Kim Carson underscored before voting to approve the plan.

She acknowledged that some of the public input wasn’t incorporated into the plan, but she said the Council will take the ideas into account when evaluating future proposals for development, or in areas where the county can directly make changes that reflect community values, like beefing up trails in the area and when discussing the active transportation plan.

From a developer’s point of view, Putt said, the process to get a project approved in Kimball Junction won’t be substantively different than it was the day before the neighborhood plan was adopted.

But it gives the Planning Department and planning commissioners better direction on how to advise developers and evaluate projects to fit in the overall vision for the area. And it tells developers what kind of projects the county wants to see there.

This is the second plan of this type the county has undertaken in the last few years, with the Canyons Master Plan being the first. Putt said there’s no immediate timeline to perform similar exercises for the other 14 Snyderville Basin neighborhoods, “but that doesn’t mean that something couldn’t be on the near horizon.”

Snyderville Basin General Plan neighborhoods

– Bitner
– Canyons
– Central Basin
– East Basin
– Highland Estates
– Jeremy Ranch/Pinebrook
– Kimball Junction
– North Mountain
– Old Ranch Road
– Quinn’s Junction
– Rasmussen
– Silver Creek
– The Summit
– Trailside
– Utah Olympic Park
– West Mountain

Kimball Junction is the second, after Canyons, for which the county has created a neighborhood plan.

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