East Side maps show downsized districts
October 20, 2015
Property owners will have their first opportunity since last February to comment on the new zoning districts that are being proposed for eastern Summit County.
A map depicting the districts will be unveiled during a public hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, in the Commons Area at North Summit Middle School, 64 South 100 East, in Coalville.
The Eastern Summit County Planning Commission meeting was moved from the County Courthouse to the school to accommodate the anticipated crowd. Earlier this month, notices were mailed out to property owners in eastern Summit County notifying them of the hearing.
Planning commissioners and Summit County staff are reconfiguring the zoning districts on the east side of the county. The creation of three new agricultural-based zoning districts and three rezone opportunities are being considered:
- Agricultural (AG-1): one unit per acre
- Agricultural (AG-6): one unit per six acres
- Agricultural (AG-20): one unit per 20 acres
- Rural Residential (RR): one unit per acre
- Residential Subdivision (RS): three units per acre
- Recreation Commercial (RC)
The Agriculture (AG-1) zone will replace the current highway corridor along all county roads, except Democrat Alley in Oakley and Rob Young Lane near Peoa. To codify and uphold the new districts, amendments to the East Side Development Code have also been drafted.
For nearly two years, planning commissioners and Summit County staff have been working on the maps and changes to the development code. A hearing last February attracted more than 50 people who overwhelmingly testified in favor of the changes, often referring to them as "a breath of fresh air."
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The new zoning districts are intended to create more opportunities for property owners, according to Peter Barnes, Summit County Planning and Zoning administrator. The last iteration of the General Plan for eastern Summit County was "extremely protective" of agricultural interests, Barnes said. The new General Plan and zoning districts still recognize the importance of agriculture, but also accommodate for growth.
"There are no current proposals to further restrict anyone’s rights. We are not taking away any rights you already have. The idea is to provide more opportunities," Barnes said.
Since the notices have been sent out, the county has received several calls from property owners voicing concern about the suggestions, Barnes said.
Chris Ure, commission chair, said expects to "get it from both sides" at the hearing, adding that he’s already received several comments.
"We’ll hear everything," Ure said. "From the people that are mad we are doing this because they don’t want us to change anything to the people who think that we don’t give them enough."
Ure referred to the proposals as "a compromise of the current regulations." Agriculture is still the base zoning, but property owners are afforded more flexibility, he said.
"We’ll give them different options to be more creative with their grounds and not just for development," Ure said. "But I’m a firm believer in private property rights. If that is what you want to do with your grounds we are not going to force you do anything different. It works both ways."
The Planning Commission has been divided in their support of the map, Ure said, before adding that he is in favor of it.
"I feel really great about it, but we agree to disagree," Ure said. "It’s not going to be a unanimous vote and I hope it won’t be. I don’t just want to rubber stamp it and send it to the council. I think there will be opposition and at the end of the day majority rules. But we have all worked very hard as a group to try and put our differences aside and compromise here and there. I think, for the most part, everyone is pretty happy with a lot of the stuff."
Ure encouraged every property owner to attend at least one of the public hearings and provide input.
"We are trying our best to get this out to the public and we just want to know if we are going in the right direction or not," Ure said.
Planning Commissioners are scheduled to meet with the Summit County Council Wednesday at 5 p.m. for a work session to discuss the maps before the hearing.
Another public hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 5, in Kamas. A location has not yet been announced.
For more information about the process, contact the planning department at (435) 336-3124 or stop by the County Courthouse, 60 N. Main Street, in Coalville, to view the map drafts. A draft is also available online at http://www.summitcounty.org/590/Eastern-Summit-County-Planning-District.
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