East Side is introduced to large development proposal in Brown’s Canyon
Nearly 100 attend standing-room only meeting in Kamas
June 2, 2017
East Side residents strongly urged Eastern Summit County Planning Commissioners Thursday night to deny the large housing and commercial project that is being proposed along Browns Canyon Road, in the southernmost 800 acres of the original Promontory Specially Planned Area.
More than 10 people vehemently rejected the project before a standing-room only crowd at the Kamas City Offices. Nearly 100 people attended the hearing, with most opposing it. The item was listed as a public hearing on the agenda and was the planning commission's first introduction to the project. No official action was taken.
Under the South Point Master Plan proposal, the applicant, South Point LLC, is asking the planning commission to amend Promontory Development's Specially Planned Area to more than quadruple the previously allowable residential density. In 2015, Promontory applied for an amendment to carve off the 800 acres, known as South Point, to operate under its own agreement. In March, South Point LLC became the owner of the development.
The master plan proposes 190,000 square feet of commercial space, 350 hotel rooms, 735 residential units for a total of 1,020 units, a 40-acre site dedicated for a high school and a helicopter pad. Part of the proposal includes a 110-acre reservoir and 20 additional lakeside lots. The development would be located between Roger's Ranch and Black Rock Ridge development on Brown's Canyon Road.
The area is currently planned for two private golf courses, 150-base density estate lots, 100 resort cabins, a clubhouse complex, approximately 35 units of affordable housing and 602 acres of open space. The applicant plans to restrict 35 units for the affordable housing component required by the existing development agreement. The remaining 985 units would be market-rate.
Residents at the hearing raised concerns about the price of the units and the impacts the project would have on the surrounding homes. Many pleaded with the planning commission to hold South Point LLC and Promontory Development to the original agreement.
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Dave Bobrowsky, whose property is located directly northeast of the proposed development site, said he knew the area was approved for 250 units and had "no problem with that."
"But this, this is like the evil step child of Promontory. Anything they don't want in Promontory next to their $1 million and $2 million homes is going here," Bobrowsky said. "That heli-pad is for people that don't want to drive from Salt Lake City up here. It's for Promontory people and that is wrong. I live there. We have bike riders going down through here and it is God's country. This is ridiculous."
Pat Cone, a longtime Oakley resident and former Summit County Commissioner, said he had a hand in the original Promontory Development Agreement and the proposed density was never intended.
"There is a reason there is nothing there," Cone said. "The idea was that Promontory Development would not be visible from Browns Canyon. There is no good reason for this to happen under the original development agreement. They made their deal and they are not sticking with it."
Cone went as far as to call for the resignation of Rich Sonntag, who was Promontory's general manager for more than 15 years and is currently a member of the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission. Sonntag recused himself from the discussion.
Tom Horton, as a representative of the group Park City Advocates and a former member of Park City's affordable housing commission, referred to the project as one of the "stingiest I have ever seen." He said while the developer may create a few dozen low-wage jobs, there is no obvious intention to house those workers near the project.
"The market rate of this development doesn't really mean the average person can buy one of their units. It is low-end luxury," Horton said. "The implications we heard here are that these market-rate units will provide affordable housing or attainable housing and I think they are flat out erroneous. This is the kind of development that you would see 20 years ago there where someone sneaks in and dazzles everyone with the high-value stuff, and then forgets about the rest."
While most of the comments denounced the project, a representative of the Garff Rogers Ranch, which spans nearly 6,000 acres stretching along Brown’s Canyon Road and State Road 248 near the Jordanelle Reservoir, voiced his "enthusiastic support" of it.
"I understand emotions are running high and I think the room reflects that," said Ben Rogers. "But there is no entity that will be affected more than us. We share a two-mile border with Promontory and, in my experience, they have been very decent and very professional.
"We are the biggest group that is affected by this and remember, there was a time when no one lived there and we cut that up and we sold it to them," he said. "There was a time when they were the last house on the hill so we enthusiastically support this."
The planning commission agreed to schedule a work session to further understand the public benefits associated with the project and its potential impact on surrounding residents. The item is tentatively scheduled for June 15.
"I don't really like anything about the project, to tell you the truth," said Commissioner Sean Wharton. "For me, it's all about the public benefits and I didn't really see any to it, nor did the other commissioners. We see so many problems with it, with the helicopter pad and traffic congestion. At the end of the day, we go through a SPA and think it is final. Now they are coming back trying to renegotiate it.
"At this point, my worse concern is if we don't take action or if we deny them they are going to appeal it to the County Council and they will give them what they want," he said.