Basin Planning Commissioners to review Rasmussen Road housing project
January 8, 2018
A housing project with 40 percent affordable units presents enough of a "compelling countervailing public interest" to the community to override the Snyderville Basin General Plan's restriction on new development, project developer Peter Corroon says.
Red Gate Properties, LLC, a Salt Lake City-based development firm Corroon is co-partner of with his brother, Chris, is requesting to rezone a 22-acre parcel, located adjacent to the Park City RV Resort/Campground on Rasmussen Road, to build 108 multi-family units. The project would also include 8,200 square feet of neighborhood retail space and access to public trails.
The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 9, to consider whether the housing project satisfies the General Plan and, in particular, Policy 2.3, It prevents any new development until existing entitlements and density are significantly exhausted. The item is listed as a hearing with the possibility of a decision. The Summit County Council will be the ultimate rezone authority.
Corroon said he is hopeful the Planning Commission will decide to allow the proposal to go to the County Council for review.
"The ordinance requires 20 percent affordable housing, and we thought that doubling the amount would present a countervailing public interest," Corroon said. "But, the biggest issue the county is facing is they don't have a clear definition of a countervailing public interest for this moratorium. Someone has to address that and it might as well be the Planning Commission."
The Basin's General Plan is intended to guide future land uses and patterns of development. Policy 2.3, which was the most contentious component of the plan when it was redrafted a couple years ago, includes a clause that allows the county to approve the project if it presents a "compelling countervailing public interest."
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When the Planning Commission reviewed the rezone application on Nov. 28, the discussion mostly focused on the General Plan's moratorium on granting new entitlements. But, commissioners appeared to support the overall proposal.
"I do believe that the General Plan's Policy 2.3 is the fundamental issue to be resolved first before getting into the project," said Canice Harte, chair of the Planning Commission, in an interview with the Park Record. "We are looking for guidance and then we would really know how to operate. We don't want to violate the General Plan. We need someone to help define for us what is enough of a countervailing public interest."
While Harte agreed a review of the policy would be beneficial, he said it does create an incentive for developers to propose more affordable housing than is required.
"What if this obstacle did not exist?" he asked. "Would they still come with more affordable housing? This may be the right tool and the right motivation."
Development Director Pat Putt said the housing project on Rasmussen Road may be the kind of proposal the Summit County Council had in mind when it included the countervailing public-interest clause.
"If someone comes in and proposes to do affordable housing in whatever everybody agrees is an appropriate location, in terms of is it connected to trails and can they get connected to transit, and if they are going well above and beyond what the code requires, then maybe there is that compelling public interest," he said. "It's up-zoning, but the community interest is we could be solving a traffic problem and helping our affordable housing problem."
Putt also agreed Policy 2.3 should be reviewed. The intent of the General Plan is to review it on a regular basis to make the necessary policy changes, he said. He added, "We always knew going in, Policy 2.3 was going to be one of them."
"In our General Plan update we identified a series of neighborhood areas that we thought would be appropriate for considering more mixed development," he said. "Kimball Junction was one of those. Silver Creek was one of those. There were those areas along Rasmussen Road."
While elected leaders identified those areas as appropriate for redevelopment and granting more density, the code does not currently provide an avenue for achieving it. The zoning districts still need to be developed to help "create on the ground what we are telling everyone to build," Putt said.
"We don't have them now," he said. "Policy 2.3 was, in part, that bridge between not just randomly creating a bunch of new entitlements that could be in the wrong locations. It was that stop gap until we could get those new zones created. We have a couple of mixed-use zones and those are kind of sitting on the backburner. We have been waiting to bring them forward, but we have been busy with other projects.
"With those things behind us, it will put the spotlight back on these zones," he added.
For more information about the project, go to http://summitcounty.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_01092018-1459.