Midnight meeting concludes without Newpark decision
Opponents of building proposal stayed until the end
August 25, 2017
On a typical Thursday night in the summer, crowds of people often gather in the Newpark Town Center to listen to live music at the amphitheater and enjoy an evening outdoors.
On Tuesday, some of those same people attended the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission, staying until nearly midnight to oppose an eight-unit townhome building that is being proposed for the parcel directly adjacent to the amphitheater.
The item was listed as a public hearing and no action was taken at the end of the meeting. The discussion did not start until about 10 p.m. and concluded around 11:30 p.m.
Brothers Ryan and Matthew Crandall, of Crandall Capital and owners of the parcel, previously told The Park Record they want to build a four-story building with three-bedroom units, including one affordable unit. The space – south of Maxwell's East Coast Eatery in the Newpark Town Center — is currently occupied by a parking lot. Crandall Capital owns all of the property south of the Newpark Hotel, including the amphitheater.
"It was a really good night and it went really late so we really want to thank the commissioners for their service and we want to thank the community for coming out and listening to our side of the story," Matthew Crandall said. "We think that it was a productive night."
Nearly 15 people, who supported or opposed the project, testified to the commission.
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"A lot of the comments echoed the campaign that is taking place and it is a very controlled message," Crandall said. "They (group opposing the project) had about a dozen people speak on their behalf and we had about five people speak on our behalf."
A website urging officials to reject the application includes a petition that has grown to more than 1,300 signatures. A similar page on Facebook has 228 likes.
Chris Eggleton, managing director of Destination Hotels Utah, said he was happy that people came forward to oppose the project. He added, "But I think that is still only a small reflection of the people who benefit from the plaza."
"I think it was a good effort and I was pleased to see three former planning commissioners, one was a former County Councilor, and a former director of community development oppose the project," Eggleton said. "These were individuals that were all part of the last decade of planning and they were unanimous in urging the commission to do what they did and think about how the project impacts the community."
Eggleton said nearly 90 minutes of public comment is a strong statement that, he believes, gave commissioners pause. However, he said the Crandalls are still "firmly committed to the notion that they have the right to build whatever and I don't' think that is true."
"I think the developer still has a long road ahead. Everyone has the right to apply," Eggleton said. "But there is a lot of community support and work to be done on all sides. We have to refine the factual message points and the developer has to look long and hard at what the development agreement really means, not just a few words."
Canice Harte, vice chair of the planning commissioner, said they know the applicant has the right to develop the parcel. But, commissioners requested more information regarding those rights.
"The development agreement states they can alter what they are planning to build based on market conditions, which is pretty loose and gives them a lot of latitude," Harte said. "Our questions were then: what rights are they guaranteed and if they are building condos are there things that they have to do to mitigate them, such as shading and things to that effect?"
Harte said commissioners are seeking more information to be able to make a well-informed decision.
"Ultimately, it will come down to the developer has rights," Harte said. "If someone has a right to build something, you can't arbitrarily say no. We have to adhere to those rights, but in this case, it makes us dig deeper and ask for more information from staff."
Harte said he shares some of the same concerns that were raised during the meeting.
"I take my kids there and my wife and I enjoy the music. It is obviously a really nice space that everyone wants to protect," Harte said. "I believe the Crandalls believe they are protecting it and other people think they are not."
The proposal will be revisited next month or in early October.
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