Summit County considering review process for revised Tech Center traffic study |

Summit County considering review process for revised Tech Center traffic study

Planning Department suggests hiring third-party for analysis

Aerial view of the Park City Junction LLC owned property, also known as the Dakota Pacific development project.
Park Record file photo

Planning Department staffers on Wednesday are preparing to lead a discussion with the Summit County Council about how they will proceed with a revised traffic study submitted by the development firm pursuing a contentious project at the Tech Center site in Kimball Junction.

A staff report for the upcoming County Council meeting indicates the county is poised to hire an independent, third-party company to peer review the new traffic impact study from the real estate developer, Dakota Pacific, as part of the amended project proposal. The study is expected to provide key information about how the proposed traffic model would work at the development site. 

Planning Department staffers suggested the peer review because it helps ensure the scope of work aligns with the county’s needs and the County Council’s expectations. 

At a minimum, the third party should examine the impact on the neighborhood and the S.R. 224 corridor, including during weekends, holidays and other peak periods, review the capacity of roadways in the vicinity of the development and provide recommendations for mitigation measures if state-funded improvements in Kimball Junction are delayed or unfulfilled, according to the staff report.

Additional suggestions include reviewing the impacts of increased vehicle traffic on other modes of transportation, such as bicycles or public transit, as well as considering different traffic-fighting strategies and pedestrian improvements, and reviewing the existing build-out and no-build scenarios.

County staffers also recommended comparing the traffic volumes generated by the existing approved plan, the one reviewed by the County Council in December and the revised development plan. 

Dakota Pacific pulled its most recent plan late last year after pushback from residents, many of whom were concerned about increased traffic and congestion, and said it would create a revised proposal for the Tech Center project. The developer provided the County Courthouse with an update in mid-May.

In a prepared statement, Jeff Gochnour, the director of development for Dakota Pacific Real Estate, said the firm is excited to move along in the process.

“We look forward to the upcoming Summit County Council meeting where the Council will identify a company to provide a third-party review of the revised traffic study we submitted over a month ago,” he said. “We’ve made changes to our current plan in response to community feedback that significantly reduce residential density and address community needs, including housing for seniors. These changes reduce the traffic impacts materially below both our prior proposal and the original Tech Center plan. We’ve also taken advantage of the reduction in housing to provide more open space in the center of the project to foster greater community gathering.”

The initial plan submitted by Dakota Pacific included 1,100 residential housing units, a hotel, office space and commercial space. 

Under the May version of the revised proposal, the hotel had been eliminated, and the number of units had dropped to 895, with 30% of those designated as affordable housing. Approximately 100,000 square feet that would have been for residential use in the original plan were converted to office space because of the reduction. 

The overall square footage of the project had been cut, too. The initial plan was around 1.675 million square feet, while the updated version is closer to 1.5 million. 

Wednesday’s work session with Summit County Community Development Director Pat Putt is scheduled to start at 3:45 p.m. and is expected to last 30 minutes. He previously said the county could not render an opinion on the revised proposal until the new traffic study was submitted. 

There will be no discussion of any proposed or possible development plan revisions during the meeting. Outreach to potential third-party reviewers will begin once the County Council gives staff guidance.

Planning Department staffers will then schedule another work session with the County Council to walk them through the changes between the original and resubmitted plan, and help facilitate a public process. Putt anticipated several work sessions will be held before a public hearing is scheduled.

The County Council would then vote on the Tech Center proposal after having the chance to understand how it’s been altered and to hear from community stakeholders.

“We’re eager to get back in front of the County Council and public as soon as possible, but we can’t move forward to further discuss our new plan until the third-party traffic review is complete,” Gochnour said.

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