Developer plans to rework controversial Kimball Junction project in the face of community pushback
‘We understand and heard the citizens,’ CEO of Dakota Pacific Real Estate says
The development firm pursuing a large project at the Tech Center site in Kimball Junction says it plans to rework its proposal in light of the intense pushback the concept has received from the community.
Representatives of Dakota Pacific Real Estate appeared at a Summit County Council meeting Wednesday and addressed the future of the firm’s long-running talks with the county. Dakota Pacific Real Estate’s CEO, Marc Stanworth, said the firm wants to “press pause” on the project application and create a revised proposal that aims to address the concerns community members have raised.
“We understand and heard the citizens from two weeks ago,” he said, referring to a Dec. 1 public hearing, during which opponents sounded off on the project.
Dakota Pacific has proposed a mixed-use development at the Tech Center site consisting of 1,100 residential units, a hotel, office space and commercial space. The firm asked the Summit County Council to approve a zoning change on the land, which is currently restricted to tech-related uses, such as the office building that serves as Skullcandy’s headquarters.
The plan has drawn criticism throughout the county’s yearslong review process. The opposition mobilized in recent months, rallying support through an online petition and forming a group called Friends of Summit County for Responsible Development. Critics have claimed the development would worsen traffic congestion in Kimball Junction and have expressed worries about other potential impacts of adding approximately 3,000 residents to the area.
Supporters of the project have said it could be key to getting the Utah Department of Transportation to commit to a costly revamp of roads in Kimball Junction. They have also pointed to the dire need in the Park City area for the kind of affordable housing units included in the plan.
Stanworth on Wednesday seemed to indicate the firm decided to alter its course following the Dec. 1 public hearing. Hundreds of opponents, many of them dressed in red, attended the meeting, with the majority of the approximately 80 residents who spoke expressing opposition to the development.
“Those kinds of meetings are not always easy but it was good,” he said, later adding, “It was an important meeting. It gave us much to digest.”
Members of the County Council appeared amenable to the firm reworking its project, with Councilor Chris Robinson saying that what happens on the land is crucial to the future of Kimball Junction given its high-profile location.
“What was proposed was clearly not right in the sense that the right project has to be demonstrably in the community’s interest,” he said. “So I don’t think we’ve found that. But I very much would like to see if there is something that would be in the community’s interest.”
Councilor Roger Armstrong, who has been vocal about his concerns regarding the project’s impacts, also said he supports the firm revisiting its proposal.
“If the door is really open to have a broader discussion about what could go here … I would welcome that discussion,” he said. “I don’t think that the tech park is the be-all, end-all, the way it’s currently designed.”
Stanworth did not lay out a specific timeline for a revised project but said the firm would like to make significant progress in discussions with the county in the first quarter of 2022.
“I don’t want this thing dragging out another year,” he said. “We can’t afford for that to be the case.”
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Summit County Sheriff’s Office deputies seized more than 5 pounds of methamphetamine and a quarter pound of cocaine during a traffic stop on Interstate 80 on Monday night that led to a manhunt and the arrest of two California men.