Amendments for East Side Development Code scrutinized
More than 50 attend public hearing
February 21, 2017
Last week, more than 50 East Side residents crowded into the County Courthouse in Coalville to learn about the administrative changes that are being proposed for the Eastern Summit County Development Code.
The Summit County Council held its first public hearing about the amendments to Chapter 4 of the code since last summer, when dozens voiced their support for the changes. Chapter 4 primarily concerns the processes and procedures for applying the newly created zones and the mechanisms that will be required through the planning department.
Pat Putt, Summit County Community Development director, said the current code limits the ability of property owners to divide their land. Officials have said they are trying to create more development opportunities and flexibility for property owners through the proposed amendments.
"Chapter 4 talks about lots-of-record, subdivisions, conditional-use permits and all of those associated processes. In working with the Planning Commission, we went through and decided what is working and what isn't," Putt told the audience.
The amendments include an overhaul of the lot-of-record concept to create development rights based on zoning compliance and a new process to divide land for non-development purposes, such as for agriculture, court settlements, financing or inheritance, among others.
"The code now isn't set up to deal with that problem," Putt said. "We are proposing a process where these divisions can occur and this can help us address that need."
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Staff are also suggesting replacing the Specially Planned Area (SPA) with a new master planned development (MPD) process with zone-based uses and standards, Putt said. The MPD is a "comprehensive project design strategy to create projects that best address site conditions, the characteristics of the surrounding properties, as well as community and market demands," according to the draft of Chapter 4.
"The master planned development process allows less negotiations and requires more guidelines," Putt said. "It also allows for more project design and flexibility."
More than 10 people provided input at the meeting, with some displaying broad concerns about the impacts the new code could have on all aspects of public land use, especially the protection of natural resources, water quality and road capacity, said Doug Clyde, a County Council member who also lives in Oakley.
Clyde, who is a former member of the Eastern Summit Planning Commission and partly responsible for drafting the proposal, said he is "very supportive" of the amendments. However, he said there are still some lingering issues that need to be resolved before Chapter 4 of the document is approved.
"I'm very supportive, but it's the technicality on what constitutes a legally created lot that runs to the state code about how lots are created and when they are created properly," Clyde said. "We did spend a lot of time working on the remainder parcel question and the purpose of that was to make it simpler for large landowners to do small subdivisions on individual portions of their land. I am hopeful that we will be able to hang on to that concept, but, again, we have to resolve these apparent contradictions for the state code.
"We're hopeful that we will get Chapter 4 finalized in the short term in the next couple of meetings and the importance to that are that there are some procedural issues we are taking care of and will make planning and purveying for the general public simpler," he said.
County staff have labored over the development code and new zoning district maps for several years. Last year, the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission agreed, in a split vote, to forward the document on to the County Council. Several dozen hearings were held during that time that were often contentious and ended in shouting matches.
The County Council is scheduled to hold another public hearing about the Chapter 4 amendments at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, at the County Courthouse in Coalville. A public hearing about the zoning maps will reportedly be scheduled at a later date.
To view the planning department staff report which contains the proposed amendments, go to http://summitcounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/4521.