Summit County residents plan for 2050 |

Summit County residents plan for 2050

Sarah MoffittThe Park Record

Summit County’s 2050 planning session on Thursday night was called a success by organizers as 20 residents answered questions and gave feedback on where they think growth and land conservation should happen in the future.

Participants were given keypads and polled on planning questions such as, ‘where growth should be avoided,’ and ‘what is important in considering where growth should be.’ Small group discussions were held and residents placed dots on maps indicating where they see future growth happening in Summit County.

"People were there ready to roll up their sleeves, there was a strong problem-solving spirit," said Ted Knowlton, with The Planning Center/D, C and E, the firm hired to work with the county planners to edit the study.

According to Knowlton, participants felt the top two places to avoid growth were wetland, streams and flood plains followed by ridgelines and hillsides.

"The results from this session seemed to reiterate what we heard in the 2008 and 2010 sessions that were held," said Knowlton.

Through keypad polling and a map survey, participants suggested new growth should take place near existing towns or in city limits. The most appropriate location participants saw growth taking place was along the U.S. 40 corridor, an answer that Knowlton said was not a surprise.

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"A lot of land owners don’t want to see growth surrounding their property," said Don Sargent, Summit County Community Development Director. "There was a contradiction last night of people saying they don’t want to see growth near them on the East Side, but they want to preserve their right to develop their property if they see fit."

"It highlighted our main challenge, everyone wants to see the growth in the half of the county they don’t live in," said Knowlton. "Based on this, one of the next steps is figuring out the trade-offs people are willing to make."

While some were eager to offer input, others were skeptical that their efforts would make any difference.

"These are fictitious questions and the answers cannot be determined by this group," said Henefer Mayor Randy Ovard. "Where growth happens will be based on available property, land rights, and water."

"These questions and answers are just so we can get your input, we aren’t making concrete decisions here" said John Janson with The Planning Center.

Another 2050 planning meeting will be held August 4 in the Snyderville Basin. From there, The Planning Center will combine the findings from both meetings and put together scenarios and simulations of where future growth may unfold and have residents discuss some of the best ways to implement it.

"We want to clarify a county-wide vision of the future," said Knowlton.

"The big question that Summit County is trying to figure out from all of these meetings is whether or not the zoning ordinances and codes that are in place today are what the community wants for the expected growth," said Sargent. "If the residents think there is a better way to accommodate the expected 20,000 additional homes then we want to implement it."

The next 2050 meeting will take place Aug. 4, at the Sheldon Richins Building at 6 p.m.