Summit County Council to give East Side zones another look |

Summit County Council to give East Side zones another look

Last month, Summit County Council members were given their first glimpse of the new zoning districts that are being proposed for the East Side of the county during a broad 90-minute exchange with the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission about the nearly three-year undertaking.

Wednesday, the County Council is scheduled to revisit the issue during a work session at 2:50 p.m. at the County Courthouse, in Coalville. The discussion will be focused on Chapters 3 and 4 of the East Side Development Code, not the maps outlining the boundaries.

"I hope that they will actually dig into the amendments a bit," said Peter Barnes, Summit County Planning and Zoning administrator.

Chapter 3 of the East Side Development Code essentially covers the existing guidelines, with the addition of several newly created zones and descriptions. Barnes added, "it’s the intent, if you will." He said Chapter 4 concerns the administrative aspect of applying the new zones and the processes that will be required through the planning department.

Officials say they are attempting to provide property owners with more flexibility and development opportunities by creating new zoning districts, expanding existing districts and amending the development processes and regulations.

The new zoning districts are:

  • Agriculture (AG-1): one unit per one acre. This zone is intended to replace and expand the existing Highway Corridor Zone. It will extend 500 feet from the center line of all county roads, except along Democrat Alley, Boulderville Road and Rob Young Lane in Oakley.
  • Agriculture (AG-6): one unit per six acres
  • Agriculture (AG-20): one unit per 20 acres. This zone would be primarily agricultural.
  • Agriculture (AG-80): This zone replaces the AG-100 and an AG-160 zones.

In February, the East Side Planning Commission handed the County Council a positive recommendation on the maps and amendments. The vote was split 4-3, with Doug Clyde, Tonja Hanson and Ken Henrie dissenting.

"I think the conversation we will have on Wednesday will be about whether these are the right zones, do we have the amount of zones we need and do we want to switch them around," Barnes said.

County Council member Chris Robinson said he is prepared to "roll up his sleeves and get into it." However, as of Monday, Robinson had not yet read the County Courthouse staff report specifically prepared for the meeting. He said he was unsure the path Wednesday’s discussion will take.

"I don’t know how far we will get," Robinson said. "The planning commission spent a lot of time on it and what I’ve told them all along is ‘don’t try and make it perfect. Give it your best shot and let us take a look at it.’

"I think, in general, the ends are laudable, but the means may not be perfect. How we get to the end is the challenge that we have as a council to come up with a good balance," Robinson said.

He and Barnes admitted it will likely take several weeks or months before another draft is presented to the public for input.

More than 30 work sessions and 22 public hearings have already been held on the issue. Hundreds of East Side property owners have attended the meetings. Several additional hearings are expected before the County Council.

The issue became a major point of contention among the two candidates vying for the Democratic Party’s nod for a seat on the County Council, pitting East Side Planning Commissioners Doug Clyde and Sean Wharton against each other. Clyde won the nomination over Wharton. While addressing party members, he said the proposal is "unreasonable" and "the epitome of sprawl."

Barnes said the issue will likely continue to be debated as the election draws near, before adding that there is a discernable level of discomfort surrounding the proposal and its implications.

"This won’t be solved within the next few weeks and it could take months," Barnes said. "But I think the joint meeting that the council had with the planning commission was a good meeting. There was a lot of dialogue and I think it shows that they recognize the need to move something forward."

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