Guest editorial: Dakota Pacific is slick — watch out
The council will hear similar howls this time around if this proposal is given serious consideration
I listened to the Feb. 1 presentation by Dakota Pacific to the Summit County Council, to outline their revised proposal for residential and commercial development in the Tech Park. The plan is “reduced” but nevertheless remains a massive project which would be built in arguably the most traffic-congested part of Summit County! Public and voter strong opposition for the initial proposal was near universal; I have no doubt the council will hear similar howls this time around if this proposal is given any serious consideration.
To their credit, the developers were well prepared, articulate and had answers to most of the Council’s questions. I kept saying to myself that their presentation was “slick” — much like what one would expect from top real estate salespeople. The developers included all the right buzzwords: things like “sustainability, affordability, and smart drought conservation.” Lest we forget, a common tactic in development is to initially come in with a large proposed project unlikely to be approved, and to return with a “scaled down” version to appear to appease the decision makers. Lipstick on a pig!
The fact remains that this is a massive project, and it is inconceivable to me that anybody with the local residents’ interests in mind would approve it being placed where traffic congestion is already horrible. Even the developer made a comment that “there is no magic wand for S.R .224 — there is only so much that can be done.”
One thing that can be done is to reject this proposal!
The developers were clever in talking about certain features and possible amenities within the project, like a senior living care facility, while noting that in the end this might not prove feasible. There were plenty of other “teases” within the proposed plan (pickleball courts, climbing wall, amphitheater, etc.), most of which came with a similar caveat that there was no certainty they could be included in the final project.
Slick, top real estate sales tactics!
It was tough to fully read the reaction from the council members, but comments like “smaller is better” and “much improved” suggest that they are being duped by the notion that this is a “scaled down” project. It remains huge and is unfit for Kimball Junction. Some reason seemed to be conveyed by one councilor in pointing to the original, carefully developed Tech Park agreement, and raising the core question as to why it makes sense to modify existing zoning for more residential housing.
Does our area need more affordable housing? Of course we do. However, placing it in the heart of Kimball Junction makes no more sense today than it did with the first Dakota Pacific proposal for the Tech Park. I pray and hope that our County Council will listen to residents and voters, and reject Dakota Pacific’s current proposal.
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