South Summit zoning hearing highlights East Side differences
November 6, 2015
The North and South Summit areas in eastern Summit County are inherently different and should not be painted with a broad brush when it comes to the proposed zoning districts, according to South Summit residents.
Thursday, the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission held another public hearing about proposed three new agriculture-based zoning districts and updated definitions for the Development Code. More than 100 people attended the hearing at South Summit Middle School, with nearly 50 providing comments.
As previously reported in The Park Record, an extended highway corridor, except along Democrat Alley, in Oakley, and Rob Young Lane, in Peoa, and the additional zoning districts, Agricultural (AG-1), Agricultural (AG-6), and Agricultural (AG-20), will increase the allowable density in several areas to provide more flexibility for property owners. The reconfigured highway corridor would extend the AG-1 zone an additional 250 feet from the center of the state roads.
The overwhelming theme of the comments Thursday surrounded the impact the new districts could have on traffic and the infrastructure throughout the unincorporated areas, including water and sewer. One comment referred to State Road 32 traffic as "horrendous" and another stated "we are not creating a road problem, we already have one."
In an interview with The Park Record, Jann Lefler, a Woodland resident who attended the hearing, said she supports the changes because they provide options for property owners. However, she is also concerned how the increased density and an extended highway corridor will impact the state roads in South Summit.
"I drive from Woodland and through Kamas every day and the state roads are already busy," Lefler said.
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Wes Siddoway, an Oakley resident, raised the potential to double the population in South Summit under the new zones.
"The infrastructure’s not there to support it," Siddoway said.
According to Peter Barnes, Summit County planning and zoning administrator, under the new proposal, approximately 2,200 units could be constructed over the existing allowable density.
In their comments residents asked commissioners and staff to consider reconfiguring the maps to represent the varying interests of South and North Summit property owners. Most North Summit residents have been more supportive of the new zoning districts and welcome of the changes the increased density could bring, while South Summit residents are more apprehensive.
Tom Clyde, a Woodland resident and former Planning Commissioner, was among those at the hearing who commended the Planning Commission on the work that has been done. He said he supports most of the procedural changes, but is "agnostic toward zoning."
"I’m concerned about extending the highway corridor and sticking a driveway every 100 feet along the state roads. Those are supposed to be for highways, not residential traffic," Clyde said.
Rob Worthington, an Oakley resident, said he moved to South Summit to escape Park City. Worthington, who is not in favor of the new districts, questioned the validity of the comments that support the changes.
"They say, ‘I want to hand it down to my grandkids,’ but I think they are using that as a scapegoat," Worthington said. "They are just interested in developing those areas."
One of the comments at the hearing in support of the proposals came from Allen McNeil, a Kamas City resident with family property in Woodland. In an interview with The Park Record, McNeil said he does believe the changes will accomplish what the "vast majority of people are wanting."
"We do not want Kamas to turn into an over-developed, over-populated area. We want to keep Kamas as a rural area," McNeil said. " allowing large landowners who own large pieces of land to divide that into smaller pieces of land and give that to children or family. It’s allowing for reasonable development."
As an example, McNeil said his family has a 34-acre parcel that has one entitlement and one buildable lot. McNeil said with six children in his family, they are not able to divide that to pass it down, before adding "it will be sold and purchased by a developer."
"The commission is doing what they are tasked with under the General Plan, which is to promote responsible growth while still keeping a balance," McNeil said. "The instant reaction is that we will have a population boom, but it will control slow and reasonable growth to allow rural development. The traffic concerns are valid in that more building equals more traffic, but this plan better addresses that rather than allowing the same piece of property to be developed by others."
The Planning Commission chose to keep the hearing open until the Nov. 19 meeting. Thursday’s hearing was the second that has been held at the commission level.
Officials say a recommendation from the Planning Commission could come sometime in December. Once a recommendation is forwarded to the Summit County Council, additional hearings will be held.
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