Summit County purchases 30-acres in Jeremy Ranch
Summit County leaders plan to spend the next year exploring whether they can transform portions of a 30-acre parcel in Jeremy Ranch into a transportation hub and viable location for providing affordable housing.
Summit County Manager Tom Fisher signed a $3.7 million purchase option on Thursday, March 24, 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. The option is open until January 2017.
"If you go back to the problems that we are trying to solve, certainly traffic issues and attainable housing are areas where we have some deficits," Fisher said. "It is largely Kimball Junction and State Road 224 where our main congestion issues are growing, so if we are to put some solutions in place that start to slice away at those traffic problems, we have to look at that interchange.
"Then you couple that with the fact that a large percentage of our commuting workforce comes from the Salt Lake Valley and we feel this could be a way to capture that traffic before it hits the interchange," Fisher said.
About three months ago, the County Council started exploring what parcels were available west of Kimball Junction where "some solutions could be put in place," Fisher said, before adding that one of the main reasons the county honed in on this location is because the land was available.
"There is not a lot available in this size west of Kimball Junction," Fisher said. "This lot already has a transportation system with it and we are already planning with UDOT (Utah Department of Transportation) to do quite a major project at the Jeremy Ranch interchange to be able to handle the traffic this would generate."
Last year, the county revealed plans to construct two roundabouts at the entrances to the Jeremy Ranch and Pinebrook neighborhoods beginning in late 2016 or early 2017.
"The impetus is to positively to affect traffic and there are lot of different ways to go about I," Fisher said. "We would have to do all that other work and have it all in place at the same time before we made those solutions work."
Fisher said the plans for the property are "very preliminary" at this point and the county has not yet met with any potential partners or the surrounding community. However, some of the ideas could include using part of the property to offer a range of housing opportunities and a satellite parking lot.
"We need to be working with all of these groups to see if there are some things that we can put in place that can chip away at some of those problems," Fisher said. "The natural inclination is for people who are directly affected by this to say, ‘no we don’t necessarily want that property used for something like that and we can’t see how it can help.’ We just ask that people at least give us a chance to look at it to see if it can."
Some of the county’s potential partners could include Mountainlands Community Housing Trust and the larger employers in the area that are providing seasonal work, Fisher said.
"We don’t consider this to be the ‘end-all, be-all, solve-all types of problems’ type of project," Fisher said. "It’s just one thing that could be put in place to have an effect on some of those problems, but it’s not going to solve everything."
Only about 18 acres of the property are actually developable because the rest of the land is split by East Canyon Creek, Fisher said. He added that over the next several months, environmental and feasibility studies will be conducted.
"We are not sure if this will work yet. We need to do some good studying and arrange some solutions," Fisher said. "But, at the end of the day, that property is a developable parcel and it will be something someday. The question is whether the community wants to solve some problems or lead to some other problems."
The purchase option has not yet been presented to the public and there are no hearing scheduled at this point. However, Fisher asked for "a little patience to see that we can come up with."
"The first step was securing the property," Fisher said. "As soon as we are ready we will be getting this out to the public. It’s an exciting step for the Council to be willing to take a little bit of risk. We know there will be folks who are opposed to this and we need to know what those negatives could be. But at the same time we are constantly asked to solve some of these problems and we have to investigate all options available where we could put some solutions in place."
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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.