Summit County Council reviews applicants for planning commission openings
Three-term Snyderville Basin Planning Commissioner Chuck Klingenstein is preparing to step down from his position after serving nearly nine years on the planning panel.
Klingenstein’s term is set to expire on Feb. 28 and he is not eligible to reapply. Klingenstein has had a hand in reviewing several significant developments and planning matters over the years, including the Silver Creek Village Center, Canyon Corners Development, a reconfiguration of the Canyons Village at Park City Mountain Resort and the rewrite of the Basin’s General Plan. He was appointed to the position in 2009.
Klingenstein said the challenge he faced when examining major developments was that most of them already had existing approvals.
“That was difficult,” he said. “We were trying to make sure we did our best to honor the community and community values as expressed in our General Plan while making sure we didn’t trample on property rights that had already been established.”
Two of the most recent projects that the Planning Commission reviewed and struggled with, he said, were the hotel project at the former Colby School property on S.R. 224 and the Woodward Park City action camp proposed for Gorgoza Park near Interstate 80. Both projects had vested rights attached. They are also currently under appeals before the Summit County Council.
“We really wrestled with those because they did have some former entitlements, and we tried to balance the community interest with the property’s interest,” he said. Klingenstein also highlighted some of the successes he experienced on the Planning Commission, such as the rewrite of the Basin’s General Plan and the Canyon Corners development on Landmark Drive in Kimball Junction.
“Canyon Corners, I’m very proud of that one so far,” he said. “Sometimes you make a decision that you don’t get to see during your term of office, but it looks like it is working. It was the first project that integrated workforce housing on site above the retail. I’d say it has been a success.”
After nearly nine years, Klingenstein said he is ready to let someone else take his seat.
“I think it’s time and I am really looking forward to new people stepping up,” he said. “I think it’s important for all of us to do service in our community. When you serve in government, you suddenly realize we are all working hard to serve members of the community, but we have to work with the rules, and that is always frustrating for any planning commissioner or elected official.”
With Klingenstein ineligible to reapply for the planning panel and Ryan Dickey’s term also concluding at the end of the month, two seats are open on the seven-member board. Dickey was appointed to the Planning Commission in July after former member Colin DeFord unexpectedly resigned. Dickey has reapplied in the hopes of serving a full three-year term.
The Summit County Council interviewed the following applicants for the two open positions on Wednesday: Dickey, DeFord, Tim Nemeckay, Pete Van Stee and John Kucera. The County Council is scheduled to appoint two replacements during its Wednesday, Feb. 21, meeting. The new commissioners’ terms will expire on Feb. 28, 2021.
DeFord stated in his application that he resigned from the commission in July because he was obligated to fulfill a work contract that would have required him to miss three consecutive meetings.
“I feel that my past experience on the Planning Commission uniquely qualifies me for another term,” he said in his application.
East Side vacancies
Later this month, East Side planning commissioners Don Sargent and Louise Willoughby’s terms will also be expiring. Sargent was appointed in 2017 to serve out the remainder of Summit County Council member Doug Clyde’s term. Clyde served on the Planning Commission when he was appointed to the County Council in 2016.
Sargent, along with Brooke Richins, Amy Rydalch, TJ Bates, Richard Gunnerson and Gale Pace filed applications to be considered for the two open seats. The County Council is scheduled to interview the applicants on Feb. 21 and appoint two new members. Willoughby is nearing the end of her first term and chose not to reapply.
All of the applicants are longtime residents of the county, residing on the East Side for at least 10 years or more.
Commissioners serve on a volunteer basis and are responsible for making recommendations to the County Council regarding zoning, amendments to the respective Development Codes and application reviews.
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The Coalville native doesn’t see any major roadblocks for this year’s fair, though presenting in front of the County Council is a little nerve wracking.