The Summit County Council is poised to approve Tech Center project
Elected officials support development amendment, though they haven’t yet given it final approval
It appears the Summit County Council is poised to approve a massive residential development at Kimball Junction and turn the Tech Center site into a new neighborhood at the southwest corner of the gateway to Park City.
The council did not vote on the proposal and the project has not been approved. In a poll asking councilors whether to direct county staffers to prepare a detailed development agreement for the council’s approval, four councilors said they supported the proposed changes, while one, Roger Armstrong, dissented.
It now appears to be a matter of when, not if, the project will be approved.
Wednesday’s presentation included the product of extensive negotiations between the developer, Dakota Pacific Real Estate, and a subcommittee of the two county councilors with the most development experience, Chris Robinson and Doug Clyde.
The plan includes additional benefits sought by the county, including affordable housing earmarked for low-wage earners and two financing mechanisms that together could yield tens of millions of dollars for future transit or transportation improvements.
Councilors indicated the issue may return this month, possibly for a vote, but the council has a track record of lengthy revisions for agreements of this kind, and it is still possible negotiations hit a sticking point that cannot be overcome.
At Wednesday’s meeting, though, the council gave its strongest indication to date that the project will be approved.
Developer Dakota Pacific Real Estate is proposing to build 1,100 homes, a hotel and nearly 200,000 square feet of mostly office space west of S.R. 224 and south of Walmart in Kimball Junction.
The land is currently under a restrictive development agreement that calls for a large office park restricted to technology-related businesses.
The restriction has essentially prevented development on the site, with the exception of the Skullcandy headquarters and Park City Visitor’s Center.
The developer proposes to amend the agreement to allow a broader variety of uses, including residences and non-technology related offices.
The plan has been met with opposition from many members of the public and former county officials who crafted the original agreement. The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission in September forwarded a negative recommendation to the County Council.
Opponents decry enabling development at an already-congested location and have spoken against the idea of adding residences to Kimball Junction.
Officials have estimated the number of proposed residences could add around 3,000 people to the area.
The financial mechanisms agreed to by the developer include creating a public infrastructure district, which would include a voluntary assessment on land in the project area that could create up to $14 million.
It also calls for a community reinvestment area on the project site, which would capture the increased tax revenue created by the development. That money would be used for improvements in the area.
The county has eyed transit improvements at Kimball Junction, including a bus rapid transit hub. Officials also indicated the pools of money could be used to match state and federal grant funding to make transportation-related improvements happen more quickly.
The new plan calls on the developers to ”cooperate with the County and others in speeding up the implementation of other UDOT 224 projects, including dedication at no cost to the County or UDOT of such rights-of-way as may be needed.”
Already, the developer has worked to get money for Kimball Junction projects included in a state infrastructure bill.
Summit County Manager Tom Fisher said the potential for the developer to help transit projects around Kimball Junction could be the biggest benefit for the county in the new deal.
“The developer being willing to be a part of a community reinvestment area and a public infrastructure district and use their influence with the powers that be that help move transportation projects along faster than they would normally do in competition with the I-15 communities is significant,” he said, adding that transportation improvements and alleviating congestion are two of the county’s highest priorities.
“We’re going to have to pull every lever we can in order to bring about a myriad of solutions to make things better,” he said.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Robinson described the plan at length to his fellow councilors. He is a land developer with extensive holdings in the state and elsewhere, but his participation in this approval process was not a sure thing.
Robinson last October recused himself from evaluating the project after receiving basketball tickets from the developer. He “un-recused” himself early this year after at the behest of his fellow councilors, who lauded his character and land-use experience. County attorneys determined the recusal was not mandated by state statute.
The council indicated it may next discuss the project, and possibly approve it, Aug. 25.
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