Summit County exercises option to purchase 29-acres near Jeremy Ranch
Acquisition an opportunity for transit and affordable solutions, officials say
January 20, 2017
Less than one day before the deadline was set to expire, Summit County announced it will move forward with the option to purchase a 29-acre parcel near Jeremy Ranch.
On Wednesday, Summit County Manager Tom Fisher delivered a notice that the county will exercise the $3.7 million purchase option for the land, known as the Cline Dahle parcel. It is located on Rasmussen Road near Jeremy Ranch Elementary School and the Summit Center Commerce Park. In March 2016, the county paid $100,000 toward the purchase when it entered into the land deal.
County leaders are considering the site as a potential location for an affordable housing and transit-oriented development. It is among the final undeveloped lots remaining in the Snyderville Basin.
"This is the first time the county has taken a land purchase and been able to chart its own course," said Chris Robinson, a Summit County Council member. "It is a good piece of property where we envision a park-and-ride, affordable housing and a slight amount of commercial.
"The kind of development we want there is the kind that will reduce the problems that we have," he said. "It will mitigate in-town commutes and it will provide a transit solution and affordable housing."
Over the last several months, the county has completed the various studies on the site to determine whether it would be a viable location for an affordable housing project as County Council members reiterate their commitment to addressing the affordable housing shortage. Various community stakeholders, including the resorts and Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, will be involved in the discussions to finance a project at the site.
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Jeff Jones, Summit County's economic development director, said there is an imbalance between the level of employment growth that the county is seeing and the amount of residential permitting that is taking place.
"As a result of that imbalance, a large number of vehicle trips enter and exit the area on a regular basis," Jones said. "There is a lack of affordable housing in the area so I think we can see a benefit over the long term with this type of solution."
Jones said staff will begin looking at various scenarios for the property to help capture traffic before it reaches the Kimball Junction area. He said that information will be available sometime next month.
County Council member Kim Carson said the purchase provides a "really unique opportunity" to help solve some of the county's problems. Carson said she anticipates the project will enhance the Jeremy Ranch neighborhood, with the potential for open space, trail connections and a small park.
"Whatever we decide to put there, we have to make sure it is the appropriate size for that location," Carson said.
Peter Barnes, Summit County's planning and zoning administrator, said the site is "easily large enough" to accommodate a range of uses. He said the county's task will be to determine what those uses will be.
"We need to bring in our partners to start having these conversations," Barnes said. "There are a lot of options for this site. It is strategically well placed for easy access and, in terms of traffic flow, because it is before the bottleneck at Kimball Junction.
"We have to do something because our affordable housing is not keeping up with the demand," he said.
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