Commission forwards General Plan to Summit County Council
February 13, 2015
After nearly four hours of deliberation, the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission forwarded a positive recommendation to the Summit County Council on a rewrite of Phase 2 of the Snyderville Basin General Plan on Tuesday.
The General Plan serves as a guiding document for future development and growth in the Snyderville Basin. Phase 2 addresses topics such as land use, patterns of development, sustainability and recreation.
"After five years of the document being at the Planning Commission level, I felt it was time to move on," Planning Commission Chair Colin DeFord said. "I don’t think it is a perfect document nor will it ever be. The people in the Basin have different goals and objectives. Some people will enjoy it, while others aren’t going to like certain pieces.
"But I think we did the best we could to satisfy the goals of the Basin," DeFord added.
Nearly 100 people attended the hearing on Tuesday at the Sheldon Richins Building. It was the second hearing the county held about the General Plan this year following a hearing in early January.
"There was some frustration among commissioners that we were forwarding it on Tuesday, but this doesn’t close the document," DeFord said. "For me it was just important for us to get a good, substantial document to the council.
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"We did the majority of the heavy lifting to allow the County Council to finesse it and that is what’s going to happen," he said.
The version of Phase 2 that was forwarded to the County Council includes changes the county staff made based on comments received from residents and stakeholders during the last few months.
Jeremy Ranch and Pinebrook residents expressed concern over a term, "mixed use receiving area," found on zoning maps for those neighborhoods. But the term was removed from the plan and the staff is instead proposing a "mixed use neighborhood commercial" designation.
"It was not an appropriate process to go through since we haven’t studied it," DeFord said about the zoning designation. "It’s not something the county is prepared to think about now."
In another contentious aspect of the plan county, staff was adamant about including statements that the county will "not approve any new entitlements beyond base zoning until such time that existing entitlements are significantly exhausted."
More than 3,000 residential units have been approved, but are not yet built. Approximately 2.6 million total square feet of commercial development is also approved, but not yet built.
But Bill Coleman, a Park City real estate executive, said not approving new entitlements "defies good planning."
"It presumes that existing entitlements have to be exhausted before new developments can happen and that gives them the potential to make this a defacto moratorium," Coleman said. "Hopefully the County Council will change that because it doesn’t lead to a pathway for anyone to go through a process to increase anything."
Modifications were made with the removal of the receiving areas, Coleman said. But none of his recommendations and concerns were addressed in the final version of Phase 2.
"I’ve appeared before them at least four times and none of what I’ve asked for has ever happened," Coleman said. "And yes they say we’ll kick the can down the road and we just gave it to the County Council. But I think they (County Council) have more work now because of the way the Planning Commission has left them with an unclear recommendation.
"It’s a backwards way to do any kind of planning and I think it is unfortunate that the Planning Commission forwarded a flawed, and admittedly flawed, final recommendation to the County Council."
While the General Plan is supposed to be a long-term guiding document, the Planning Commission unveiled ideas to possibly revisit the document on an annual basis.
Kathy Becker, a Fox Point at Redstone resident, said a number of residents spoke after the meeting and were confused about the emphasis the commission, as well as staff, placed on the plan "as if it was just advisory."
"At some point I felt like it was kind of like they were saying, ‘calm down, we don’t have to worry about this because we will visit this every year," Becker said. "And that was really surprising to us. The nature of a general plan, at least in other communities, is to put in motion a long-term strategy.
"We have to think about where we want that growth and how we grow so we ultimately don’t just become a larger, sprawl community like Salt Lake Valley," Becker said.
The County Council will hold another series of hearings before adopting the General Plan.
Community Development Director Pat Putt said the changes "just requires us, and appropriately so, to be able to show exactly how these tools are going to work."
"So before we get married to these solutions we want to be able to show exactly what they are going to do and maybe pilot them on a couple of scenarios," Putt said. "As part of rewriting the code, we are going to look at smart design principles aimed at creating the best design in some of the best locations possible."
The proposed Snyderville Basin General Plan can be found online on the Summit County homepage, http://summitcounty.org/ . To view an interactive entitlement map of the Snyderville Basin, go to http://bit.ly/BasinBuildoutMap .