Summit County Council race pits planning commissioners against each other
One of the contested races for an open seat on the Summit County Council is pitting two planning commissioners from opposite ends of the county against each other.
Colin DeFord, a Republican who sits on the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission, and Democrat Doug Clyde, an Eastern Summit County Planning Commissioner, are contending for the seat currently held by Claudia McMullin, a Democrat, who decided not to run for a third term.
The campaign between DeFord and Clyde has included the candidates highlighting their backgrounds as commissioners and the involvement they’ve had in shaping major development projects.
DeFord has served on the seven-member board since 2012. He was elected chair in 2013 and again in 2014. During his tenure, commissioners rewrote the General Plan for the Basin and reviewed several major projects, including the Whole Foods Market relocation and the Hyatt Hotel on State Road 224. The development that is proposed for the Canyons Village at Park City Mountain Resort is also expected to soon go before the commission.
“There are at least five to six pretty major projects a year that come before the commission,” DeFord said. “We see all of those projects and I think the Hyatt Place is one that I am particularly proud of. It was a consent agreement project that was originally going to be office complexes.
“We were able to help shape and mold that project from something that was less than ordinary to something that is pretty well designed in my opinion,” he said.
One of the projects DeFord said he is not proud of is the Park City Tech Center. He said the agreement between the developer and the county needs to be rewritten to foster more business.
“I’m very interested in doing a complete redo on that development agreement because it has been very difficult for them to find development in there that fits the uses,” DeFord said. “I am very eager and hopeful that if I were on the council we could go to Boyer Company and reshape it and reframe it to make it something that works.”
For nearly 30 years, DeFord has worked professionally as a technical producer in the sports and entertainment industry overseeing events such as presidential debates, the Grammy Awards and the New Year’s Eve Times Square ball drop.
DeFord has drawn attention to his professional background as a way to differentiate himself from Clyde. He said some of the projects Clyde has been involved in as a land planner and consultant led to sprawl, including the redevelopment of the base of Park City Mountain Resort.
“A lot of his expertise is in these sprawling developments, but that is not where we are going anymore,” DeFord said. “What we are doing now is redeveloping and moving into transit-oriented development or transit-adjacent development or the mixed use, and that is something that he doesn’t have experience with. It is outside of Doug’s little house.”
Clyde came to Park City from California in 1978 to work as an operations manager under Nick Badami at Park City Ski Area, now known as Park City Mountain Resort. He has worked as an independent consultant spearheading large projects such as Empire Pass and the redevelopment of the Park City Mountain Resort base area. He is currently connected to projects with Bill White Farms and the Park City Day School.
“I don’t think the projects I have been involved in have led to sprawl,” Clyde said. “Everything I have ever worked on has provided hundreds and thousands of acres of open space like the Montage (Deer Valley). We have built products that are targeted at our resort community and contribute positively to it.”
Clyde joined the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission in 2012. During his tenure, commissioners rewrote the development code and proposed new zoning districts for that part of the county. Clyde was staunchly against the proposal.
“The zoning that got passed on a 4-3 vote was essentially sprawl. I was able to carry two commissioners along with me and brought enough of that land use into question that the council has not adopted the map yet,” Clyde said. “The bulk of my time I have spent on the commission has been rewriting the chapter 3 and 4 codes.”
Clyde said he did not have many criticisms of the projects DeFord has reviewed. He said the Hyatt is a “great project and it does exactly the same thing that I have done as a land planner throughout my career.” He added, though, “Colin should have followed my example and gotten a couple thousand acres of open space and he would know how it’s done.”
Clyde did bring into question DeFord’s potential support of presidential candidate and Republican Donald Trump. After a recent candidate event held in Park City, DeFord told The Park Record he was undecided.
“He (Colin) believes Trump may be a viable person to serve as president, but he is waiting for more information and I don’t know what more you need to know,” Clyde said. “He (Trump) is a bigot and misogynist. Colin is either pandering or he really doesn’t know who to support and that is probably equally as troublesome as pandering.”
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