East Side panel wants large development to be rejected
The large commercial and housing development proposed for Promontory Development’s southernmost 800 acres along Brown’s Canyon Road failed to receive the support of the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission on Thursday.
Under the South Point Master Plan proposal, the applicant, South Point Utah LLC, asked the Planning Commission to amend the 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 Utah LLC became the owner of the development.
The development would be located between the Roger’s Ranch and Black Rock Ridge development on Brown’s Canyon Road.
After more than two hours, Planning commissioners unanimously agreed to forward a negative recommendation for the project to the Summit County Council. Amending a development agreement is considered a legislative act and will still require a decision from the County Council.
When commissioners announced their decision, the audience erupted in applause. Nearly 30 people attended the hearing on Thursday in Kamas, with most strongly opposing the project.
“I have been at every meeting and I’ve been emotional because this is in my backyard. I will look down on it,” Dave Bobrowsky said during the meeting. His property is located directly northeast of the proposed development site. “I have sat here and listened to the developer tell you over and over where you must approve this development, but this would be a major change for anyone in Brown’s Canyon just so they can make millions of dollars.”
The applicant requested to build 735 units more than what is already approved for the location for a total of 1,020 homes and 190,000 square feet of commercial density. A previous proposal included a water park, 350-room hotel and a helipad. Those were removed after significant pushback from the public.
The proposal included a previous obligation of 348 acres of dedicated open space and additional community parks and trails. The applicant offered to construct 25 additional workforce housing units above the required 35, dedicate a 52-acre school site and set aside land for a fire station and transit center/park and ride.
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.
Tom Ellison, a consultant for South Point Utah LLC, argued before the commission that the policies in Eastern Summit County’s General Plan support growth and allow higher density. He said the policies encourage neighborhood commercial space, as well as recreational and neighborhood business.
“The housing policies promote a mix of housing types and availability,” he said. “But, when we get down to private development, this will only occupy about 250 acres. The golf course that is currently planned for this land would exceed what we are proposing.”
Nearby property owners and members of the public criticized the project because of its potential impacts on traffic, noise and the East Side’s rural ambiance. Others questioned whether the workforce housing component would actually benefit employees, particularly on the East Side.
Tom Horton, as a representative of the group Park City Advocates and a former member of Park City’s affordable housing commission, said the project is offering “fake affordable housing” because of the price point for most of the homes.
“I think it is particularly dangerous because it provides an illusion that we are doing something for workforce housing,” he said in the meeting. “But, in 10 years we’ll realize we really didn’t do anything. That’s happened in a number of developments that ended up being second homes. I’m hoping you will deny this application and allow the community to move on to real affordable housing.”
Planning Commissioner Don Sargent acknowledged that the applicant is allowed to apply for an amendment to the original development agreement, but said he was struggling with components of the proposal.
“If the golf course isn’t a product that is popular and in demand, something else might be. But, that’s not our responsibility to determine what that is. It’s the developer’s to figure it out,” he said. “I think this is the avenue to do, but the impacts are much greater than the benefits. This project would destroy the rural, small-town character and lifestyle and, in particular, for those in the immediate vicinity. This is the wrong location for this much development intensity.”
Planning Commissioner Bill Wilde referred to the plan’s workforce housing component as “ridiculous.”
“There is no way that in our wildest dreams we could say this is affordable housing for eastern Summit County,” he said. “I get so perturbed that we are not gentleman enough to be square about what truly benefits eastern Summit County. I am totally against this project.”
The other commissioners — Tonja Hanson, Tom Clyde, Marion Wheaton and Louise Willoughby – offered similar comments against the project before reaching a decision. Commissioner Rich Sonntag was not at the meeting. It was unclear if he recused himself from the conversation because of his position as former general manager of Promontory or if he was absent.
The proposal will now go before the County Council for a decision. A date has not been scheduled.
Meredith Reed was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Summit County Democratic Party and said she sees an opportunity to ride the so-called blue wave that saw a Democratic surge nationally and within the state.