Revised Tech Center project has 30% reduction in density |

Revised Tech Center project has 30% reduction in density

Summit County Council expected to review new Dakota Pacific plan in 2023

Summit County residents have ardently opposed a large project at the Tech Center site in Kimball Junction, boundaries shown, since it was proposed last year. The new mixed-use development submitted by Dakota Pacific is more than a 30% reduction from the original plan.
David Jackson/Park Record

Summit County residents have been ardently opposed to a large project at the Tech Center site in Kimball Junction since it was proposed last year, but the real estate developer hopes the latest revised plan won’t receive the same ire.

The new mixed-use development submitted by Dakota Pacific is more than a 30% reduction from the original plan, according to Summit County Community Development Director Pat Putt. The latest iteration of the project, which was sent to the Planning Department last month, lessened the density even more than an updated proposal provided in May.

“Dakota Pacific is eager to meet again in the coming weeks with the Summit County Council to present our revised plan for the Tech Center site,” Jeff Gochnour, the director of development for Dakota Pacific Real Estate, said in a prepared statement. “We’ve made significant changes to the plan in response to community feedback that we believe strikes a great balance across the various interests.”

The revised plan cuts the number of residential units from 1,100 in the original project — and 895 in the spring proposal — to 727 units. The decreased density also led the units designated as workforce and affordable housing to be reduced to 237. These will be reserved for people making less than $75,000, or 80% of the area median income. The initial plan called for 336 units, according to Putt. 

The project’s overall square footage has dropped, too, as Dakota Pacific proposes using less than 1.3 million square feet. Putt said this includes reducing the commercial space by 45,000 square feet.

The original project plan estimated around 1.7 million square feet would be utilized while the version submitted in May was reduced to 1.5 million. The spring update also eliminated a proposed hotel, converted 100,000 square feet for residential use to office space and increased open space by over four acres. 

Dakota Pacific was hopeful they could meet with the County Council before the end of the year to discuss the plan, but Putt estimates that will likely occur after the holidays. He said the county has a traffic study completed by the developer, but the County Council wants to hire a third party to review it. 

Putt expects a request for proposal will be put out next week, kicking off the bid process. The firm chosen will then have 30 days to peer-review the traffic impact study.

“We’re looking out into the future, certainly after the first of the year,” he said.

After a meeting is held on the revised application, the County Council could direct Dakota Pacific to go back to the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission for a recommendation if officials feel it has evolved significantly. The County Council could also decide to continue reviewing it as a panel on its own. Putt said he isn’t sure which direction it will go.

Dakota Pacific paused the project in December after intense pushback from nearly 1,000 people at a public hearing. The community again became infuriated in March after allegations that the developer had influenced the Utah Legislature to use a provision in legislation to target Summit County.

The law required the county to adopt a moderate-income housing plan by Oct. 1, which officials complied with. However, the legislation included a late provision requiring that Summit County create a Housing and Transit Reinvestment Zone (HTRZ) within a certain radius of the transit hub — which is west of the Sheldon Richins Building in Kimball Junction — as a strategy in the moderate-income housing plan.

The County Council adopted the plan, but included stipulations that public hearings must first be held to gather input about the criteria that should be considered in selecting an HTRZ. This will happen within one year with county officials amending the General Plan to create the zone once the hearings are closed. Putt said the third step is actually creating the HTRZ and opening an application process for developers. 

The law states that 51% of the developable land inside the HTRZ must have residential uses and requires 10% of those units to be affordable. It also allows the density to be between 39 and 49 units per acre. At this point, the county has not created such a zone.

Putt said he understands why people often tie the Dakota Pacific project with the HTRZ, but they aren’t directly correlated. The County Council will review the proposed Tech Center project and make a decision on it based on the application — not what will eventually be required with an HTRZ. 

“Could it be near the existing transit center by the library and tech park? It could. Could it be in another location? Sure, there could be several, based on the feedback we get,” Putt said. “People are wondering if all of a sudden we’ve adopted an HTRZ; we have not. If there’s a concern that it’s already been identified in the tech park, it has not. We’ve got three years of work to do before we decide where, what and if we move forward with that.”

Summit County

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