Summit County Council to delve into concept to redesign Kimball Junction
The Summit County Council will soon take their first look at the concept to redesign the Kimball Junction area on April 24, kicking off a process that is expected to take at least several months.
Summit County officials and members of the Kimball Junction Neighborhood Master Plan Committee intend for the 20-page document to serve as a guide for future development. The committee, consisting of community members with varying interests and diverse backgrounds, spent 18 months developing the document that is being proposed as an amendment to the Snyderville Basin General Plan.
The neighborhood plan encourages improvements to traffic flow and visual quality, increased emphasis on connectivity, the creation of community and civic spaces, and centralized parking in the bustling retail and residential area.
Elected officials are expected at the meeting to delve into the document. The plan suggests ways to tie the Kimball Junction area together on both the east and west sides of S.R. 224. The meeting is listed as a work session. No public input will be taken.
Critics of the area’s design, which has included elected and county officials, have said Kimball Junction is not pedestrian friendly and is plagued by parking lots.
“Kimball Junction wasn’t designed. Period,” said Doug Clyde, County councilor. “But, some parts did happen really well and Newpark is a stunning example of good development.”
The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission sent the document to the Summit County Council after spending just two meetings on it. More than 40 people attended the last meeting, with many advocating for more public input once the document goes before the Council.
Planning Commissioners, including the two who served on the neighborhood committee tasked with creating the document, had said they expect the County Council will carefully go through the document and likely make several changes.
“There is a lot of process left to be done at the County Council level,” Clyde said. “I think the Planning Commission rightly did not delve into it deeply. They took it as what it was — a concept that we will take through the planning process. It will be very long and very involved and very impactful on our future.”
Clyde suggested that the Council will spend a significant amount of time focusing on the area west of S.R. 224 known as the Park City Tech Center. The area is approved for research, development and technology uses. That expanded in recent years to include opportunities for outdoor industries and support businesses.
Development in that area has lagged behind the rest of the Snyderville Basin. More than 1 million square feet of commercial space is yet to be built in the Park City Tech Center.
“One of the areas where it will be the easiest to change the development pattern will be on the Park City Tech side,” Clyde said.
Another topic that will be heavily discussed is encouraging more mixed uses where residential and retail spaces are located together, Clyde said. He added, “We see that as being key to continuing to activate the site, as well as provide appropriate places for the community to grow.”
Clyde said he doesn’t anticipate there will be substantial changes to Newpark or the residential areas near Tanger Outlets. But, he said the Council’s discussion will likely focus on other areas where mixed uses can be better incorporated.
“The whole concept is we are trying to consolidate uses and not create more sprawl. The county has had decades of sprawl and that is hard to overcome,” he said. “What our first step here will be is to take this concept plan and bring it into the general plan. This will be a multi-step process to get from where it is right now.”
Jennifer McDonald, a self-described lifelong Republican, was selected as the Summit County Republican Party chair last week.