Summit County Council delays decision on design of Newpark condos
The Summit County Council on Wednesday agreed to delay a decision on the design of a controversial condominium project in Newpark until later this month.
The elected officials reviewed an appeal of the project’s design, particularly the allowance of residential units on what is considered Newpark Town Center’s Main Street. The seven-unit building is slated for the space south of Maxwell’s East Coast Eatery, adjacent to the amphitheater. The location is currently occupied by a parking lot and is mostly surrounded by businesses.
Members of Preserve the Newpark Plaza, LLC, filed the appeal on June 28, challenging County Manager Tom Fisher’s decision to approve the final plat and site plan. The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission forwarded Fisher a positive recommendation for the project in February. Preserve the Newpark Plaza, LLC, represents different property owners within Newpark, including a homeowners association.
Chris Eggleton, managing director of Destination Hotels Utah and member of Preserve the Newpark Plaza, LLC, said the project as designed should not be allowed in the proposed location. He said the Kimball Junction Neighborhood Committee, an advisory group tasked with developing a neighborhood master plan, wants to make visual quality a top priority.
“The streets should not be dominated by blank walls,” he said. “We want to create mixed uses by adding residential where it is appropriate. It doesn’t say that we need more condos. That’s not what Kimball Junction needs. These things are really important to so many people. It’s a community request. It’s not about me. It’s truly we.”
Preserve the Newpark Plaza, LLC’s, appeal cited concerns about the architectural design of the building, including the height and layout of the project as a residential building. Andrew Blonquist, an attorney representing the group, said residential units don’t generally belong in the middle of a commercial plaza.
“Having residential doors enter on the street right next to commercial doors, having garage doors exit right into a park is problematic. Unless, there’s vested property rights,” he said. “Those vested property rights are two and three-story buildings.”
Blonquist argued that residential units belong on the second floor of buildings in the Newpark Town Center, above commercial spaces. He said that is what creates a town center.
Blonquist and Eggleton claimed Newpark’s development agreement with the County Courthouse has clauses specifying where residential units belong. Eggleton said the planning commission overlooked and “essentially ignored” the plans for the area.
“There were a lot of questions from commissioners about what the rights are and what is allowed and what is permissible,” Eggleton said. “It put a lot of focus on sentiment around the market condition clause and flexibility. Height was the only architectural guideline that was mentioned and enforced.”
Justin Keys, an attorney representing developers Ryan and Matthew Crandall, partners of Crandall Capital, said the market-conditions clause did provide flexibility for property owners to design their projects based on current conditions, which he said includes mixing residential and commercial units.
The county attorney’s office maintains Fisher did not err in his decision to approve the building’s final design.
The County Council agreed after more than two hours of discussion to continue the review of the appeal at a meeting scheduled on Aug. 22. County Council member Chris Robinson appeared ready to make a motion. However, County Council members Kim Carson, Roger Armstrong and Glenn Wright expressed a desire to gather more information before making a final decision. County Council member Doug Clyde left the discussion early.
“Our main area of concern is that it is a fairly flexibly written development agreement,” Carson said. “However, we aren’t clear on any solid restrictions for the area designated as the main street.”
A fence currently surrounds the project site as the Crandalls have secured a permit to begin installing the utilities. They intend to break ground this month, but still need to obtain a building permit.
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