Summit County Council approves first new development in four years
The Summit County Council on Wednesday approved the first new development since the passing of the Snyderville Basin General Plan in 2015, which included a policy restricting new projects beyond what has already been permitted.
The provision was included in the general plan because there are millions of square feet of commercial space approved and waiting to be built. However, the policy, known as 2.3, provided an exception where new development could be approved if elected leaders felt the project would satisfy public interest.
County Council members unanimously endorsed the housing and retail project on Bitner Road in Kimball Junction east of the Park City Fire District’s Administrative Offices. The project, known as Lincoln Station, consists of eight townhomes, 36 one-bedroom and 32 two-bedroom apartments, as well as 5,000 square feet of commercial space. Of the 78 units, 52 are identified to be deed restricted as affordable housing.
The County Council’s approval largely hinged on the affordable housing component, which accounts for nearly 70 percent of the units. The developer, Vincent Criscione, originally only proposed 31 units be deed restricted as affordable.
County Council Chair Roger Armstrong said the project helps further the county’s goals as it relates to energy efficiency, transportation and affordable housing.
Elected officials negotiated with Criscione to include solar panels and other sustainability-related improvements. A public transit stop will be added to the property and Criscione has agreed to make a $25,000 contribution to the county’s electric bike-share program.
“We said we wouldn’t allow for additional density as part of section 2.3 of the Development Code unless the application would satisfy a compelling interest of the county,” Armstrong said. “I think with everything that goes into this one, it is unusual in that regard. We have an affordable housing problem and this goes along with satisfying that.”
The County Council approved the development agreement for the project on Wednesday, along with a request to rezone the property from rural residential to community commercial to allow for more development. In a community commercial zone, multi-family residential units are allowed through a conditional-use permit.
The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission approved a conditional-use permit for the project over the summer. However, the County Council’s request to increase the affordable housing and include energy efficiency-related improvements slightly changed the project from what was approved at the commission level. The project will now need to go back before the Planning Commission for a final approval.
Criscione said he was pleased with the County Council’s decision and dedication to the project. He said the General Plan’s policy restricting new development wasn’t meant to stop it, but “guide it toward what the community wants and the community wants it.”
Access to affordable housing is a problem not unique to Summit County, Criscione said. He added, “We are proud of the fact that Lincoln Station will come at zero cost to the county.” He said the affordable housing units will remain deed restricting for 60 years, per the development agreement, and will be built at the same time and to the same standards as the market-rate units.
“It (Policy 2.3) was meant to give the County Council a higher level of control in shaping, guiding, and controlling our community’s growth so that only things that were ‘compelling public interests’ could be approved,” he said in an email. “It was also meant to raise the bar on new development. Anything new would have to go above and beyond to address the Council’s Strategic Objectives, and that’s what we did with Lincoln Station.”
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Single and making less than $64,000? Good luck finding a place to live in Summit County.