Summit County Council cautiously reviews Bitner housing plan
The Summit County Council is cautiously approaching a developer’s request to build a mixed-use development on Bitner Road in the Kimball Junction area. It is one of the first new developments the county has seriously considered since the adoption of the General Plan in 2015.
Crisco Development LLC, a Park City-based development firm, gave the County Council its first glimpse of the housing project that is being proposed on a 4-acre parcel on Bitner Road on Wednesday. The site is east of the Park City Fire District’s administrative offices.
Lincoln Station would comprise 10 townhomes, 36 one-bedroom and 32 two-bedroom apartments, with 31 of the units considered affordable, as well as 5,000 square feet of commercial space.
The application the County Council is reviewing requests 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 Snyderville Basin Planning Commission endorsed the project and approved the conditional-use permit in May. The approval of the permit is pending the outcome of the Council’s decision about the rezone and development agreement. The affordable housing component was critical to the planning panel’s approval because the developer is offering to build 25 units more than what is required under the Basin’s development code.
Lincoln Station is one of the first development applications that has been considerably vetted to determine whether the project aligns with the General Plan’s Policy 2.3, which restricts new development unless the affordable housing element is enough to warrant approval. Wednesday’s discussion was primarily intended to determine whether the Council would even be willing to consider the project.
Most of the Council’s conversation focused on whether the amount of affordable units that are being proposed justifies an increase in density or if the developer should be asked to provide more. Councilors suggested providing units that are attainable for a range of incomes.
Council members are reviewing the proposal cautiously because they know it could set a precedent for future projects.
“Is the amount of affordable units a compelling countervailing interest to increase density?” County Council member Chris Robinson said on Wednesday. “Have we reached that tipping point that throws this into upzoning this density? What we do here is fairly important because we will be setting a precedent that will be replicated in other projects.”
County Council member Roger Armstrong asked the developer how he would ensure the units would remain affordable and reserved for people who qualify.
“We just want to make sure there is compliance all the way around and make sure that fits,” he said. “It sounds like you want to go down the right road, but it’s our responsibility if we are going to grant extra density to make sure the affordable component is taken care of.”
The developer appeared willing to work with the county, including potentially providing more affordable units.
“My objective is to move this forward and take care of a community need,” said Vincent Criscione, the developer.
County Council member Doug Clyde said the project was consistent with the General Plan. He highlighted the proposed location, citing its proximity to other services.
“I don’t think it’s a bad project and the affordable housing it brings is good,” he said. “This is just all a question of whether it meets Policy 2.3.”
Robinson and Clyde agreed to meet with the developer and county staffers sometime within the next week to discuss the project further. The developer requested the item be placed on an agenda in July as a public hearing with the possibility of a decision. But, it was unclear at the end of the meeting when the project would be back before the Council.
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