East siders appointed to planning panel
When Amy Rydalch moved outside of the Oakley City limits to Marion, she had to resign from her position on the City Council. As a way to remain involved with her community, she recently chose to pursue one of the open seats on the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission.
Rydalch said her family’s ties to the Kamas Valley and her desire to raise her family in South Summit were her motivations for applying for the position.
“My family has been up here in the Valley for a long time, and I have seen tremendous changes in growth and development,” she said. “We need to prepare for it and make sure we have the codes in place so infrastructure isn’t overwhelmed and we have open space for future generations.”
Last week, the Summit County Council appointed Rydalch to the seven-member planning panel alongside incumbent Don Sargent. She will fill the seat formerly held by Louise Willoughby, who chose not to reapply.
Rydalch grew up in Marion, down the street from here grandparents in Samak. She said she has spent most of her life in the Kamas Valley, which provides her with a unique perspective on what attracts people to the eastern side of the county.
“People want to move into this area because there is access to outdoors and it is a very agricultural and rural society,” she said. “We need to preserve that as much as possible and manage the growth that is coming in a wise manner.”
Rydalch said one of the challenges she anticipates while serving on the Planning Commission is trying to determine what is in the best interest of the community. She added, “Even though everyone knows the growth is coming, they have different ideas of what they would like to see here.”
Planning Commissioners need to be cautious about the decisions they are making and the implications those decisions may have on the area in the future.
“We have a diverse population of families, older ranchers and second-home owners,” she added, “I think it’s important that we maintain that diversity. That’s why people want to be here and we need to consider what we may not be able to immediately forsee.”
Sargent was originally appointed in 2017 to serve out the remainder of County Council member Doug Clyde’s term. He said he wanted to reapply for a full term because he has spent most of his career in public service and felt like he could provide valuable skills.
He runs a land planning and development business in Coalville and works as a consultant for Windermere Real Estate. He worked for Summit County between 1992 and 1995 as a county planner before moving to the private sector. He returned to the county as the principal planning director in 2004 and eventually became the department head.
“I was born and raised here and lived most of my life in eastern Summit County, so I understand a lot of the dynamics that have occurred with growth,” he said.
When Sargent is considering application and amendments to the development code, he said, his primary focus is to ensure that any recommendation or decision made by the commission promotes the East Side’s rural, small-town character.
“That is what eastern Summit County is known for, and that’s what drives every one of my decisions and serves as the basis for how I try to evaluate any application,” he said.
Sargent and Rydalch were chosen over Rick Gunnerson, Brooke Richins, TJ Bates and Gale Pace. They will join fellow commissioners Tonja Hanson, Tom Clyde, Rich Sonntag, Marion Wheaton and Bill Wilde. Their first meeting will be Thursday, March 1. The agenda includes a joint work session with the Summit County Council to discuss Promontory’s Specially Planned Area Development Agreement relating to work force and employee housing.
Commissioners serve on a volunteer basis and are responsible for making recommendations to the County Council regarding zoning, amendments to the respective Development Codes and application reviews.
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