Proposed Snyderville Basin subdivision draws criticism | ParkRecord.com

Proposed Snyderville Basin subdivision draws criticism

Silver Creek resident Edward Clissold addresses the Summit County Council Wednesday during a public hearing at the Sheldon Richins Building. More than 60 people attended the hearing about a special exception request to reduce the minimum lot size required for the proposed Little Valley subdivision, which would be located at the intersection of Bitner Ranch Road and Deer Hill Road.

Residents in the neighborhoods surrounding a proposed subdivision in the Snyderville Basin pleaded with the Summit County Council for nearly two hours on Wednesday to deny a special exception request to allow a reduction in the minimum lot size for the project.

Nearly 20 people vehemently voiced their opposition to the proposal before a standing-room only crowd at the Sheldon Richins Building in Kimball Junction. More than 60 people attended the hearing, with most opposing it. The item was listed on the agenda as a public hearing with the possibility of approval, but no official action was taken. The hearing was continued until Nov. 20.

The applicant, Milton O. Bitner Company, wants to develop 12 single-family lots on two parcels, or about 108 acres, located at the intersection of Bitner Ranch Road and Deer Hill Road. Milton O. Bitner Company is requesting the special exception to reduce the minimum lot size requirement from 5 acres to 2.5 acres. As part of the application, submitted on Aug. 30, the company is requesting to transfer six units of housing density to the parcel in question to achieve the requested 12 units of housing density.

A separate subdivision application was also submitted to the Planning Department. It will be reviewed by the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission once the County Council reaches a decision on the special exception.

Ray Milliner, a Summit County planner, said the application generally meets the criteria for a special exception, including the fact that it is not detrimental to the public safety, health or welfare as defined by the code.

Residents at the hearing raised concerns over the project's potential impact on viewshed, wildlife, water and the precedent it could set for future developments. Some referred to the project as an "eyesore" in the middle of a "wildlife refuge." Others questioned the availability of the units for transfer.

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Peter Keblish, who lives near the proposed development, said he opposes additional density in the location because it doesn't fit in with the surrounding area. He said most of the surrounding properties are roughly 10 acres a piece and the smaller lots are out of place.

"This area being proposed is not where Park City needs additional density," he said. "If we go this path of allowing these types of increases, it will in my opinion set a dangerous precedent for all of Park City."

Rick Angell, a Silver Creek homeowner, claimed the ability to transfer density expired in 2007. He said the area is already overbuilt.

"The bottom line here is we are looking at zero additional units on this parcel," he said. "We shouldn't be talking about 12 lots when we are already way over done. If the applicant can make a case that they have density, there is still no way to move it around under the agreements when they have expired."

The special exception request is asking to amend the development agreement for the Red Hawk Wildlife Preserve, known as the Preserve. If a development is clustered, the agreement allows a reduction in lot size to "less than 10 acres in size, but not less than 5 acres," according to a planning department staff report. The report states a transfer of density is also allowed under the agreement.

Nearly a week ago, Dawn Bowes, a Silver Creek resident, started a petition on Change.org opposing the project. As of Friday morning, it had amassed 621 signatures.

Bowes, like many others, claims the project is not consistent with the existing surrounding neighborhoods and it would negatively impact the area.

After a more than two-hour discussion, commissioners agreed to continue the public hearing until a special meeting on Nov. 20.

County Council Chair Chris Robinson said a decision on the project may hinge on public interest.

"This may come down to whether we should allow the units to be clustered and whether spreading those acres has a worse impact on the area," he said.

For more information about the project, go to http://summitcounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/6875 to view the staff report prepared before the hearing. To view the petition, go to

https://www.change.org/p/snyderville-basin-residents-say-no-to-little-valley-the-preserve-bitner-high-density-development-next-to-lewis-park#response-40366.