Whole Foods talk resumes Wednesday
September 15, 2015
The Summit County Council will continue its conversation about the Canyon Corners Development and the Whole Foods Market relocation Wednesday after delaying a decision on the project last month.
Following a County Council hearing on Aug. 26, council members requested more information about the traffic impacts the relocation would have on Landmark Drive. Members were also particularly interested in receiving information about the mitigation a roundabout could provide.
Staff was asked to work with the developer to come up with language to be included in the development agreement that would require a study in two years to review the traffic impacts of the project. During the meeting on Aug. 26, representatives of the developer were hesitant to agree to any type of review measure out of the concerns it could be too open ended.
Ray Milliner, a Summit County planner, has been the lead staffer on the project. Milliner said he’s discovered that the common first reaction is that it will "kill traffic" on Landmark Drive.
"That’s everyone’s first reaction and then we start digging into it and start talking about the benefits and some say the benefits outweigh the impacts," Milliner said. "With the Planning Commission, their concern was safety. With the council, it is capacity."
Centercal properties, the California retail development company proposing the project, is requesting a change in uses for the Canyon Corners development agreement. It refers to an 8.5-acre parcel on Landmark Drive north of the Ruby Tuesday’s and Hampton Inn.
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The changes to the document would allow for a 43,000-square-foot building, with a Whole Foods Market as the anchor tenant. The new store would replace the existing one at Redstone.
Another two-story building with 18,000 square feet of retail on the ground level and 20 affordable housing units above would also be constructed on site.
In addition to providing affordable housing, the developer has agreed to construct a bus shelter and contribute funds to a Kimball Junction bus circulator and a bike sharing program.
The topic is listed on Wednesday’s County Council agenda as a work session item and for consideration of approval. There will not be any opportunity for additional public comment on the project during the meeting.
Kim Carson, County Council chair, said she is not ready to make a decision. Carson said councilors received a "large binder full of information" Monday afternoon, in addition to a Planning Department staff report over the weekend. Carson said she plans on making her decision after the presentation on Wednesday.
"We’ve received a lot of information and hopefully it will be able to answer the questions we still have," Carson said. "If there are still things that we have questions about and if we feel like we have to continue the discussion again we will, although we don’t like to kick it down the road."
The hearing last month was the first time Centercal properties had gone before the County Council. Several residents testified at the hearing, both in favor and against the project. The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission voted 5-1 to forward positive recommendation earlier this summer after several meetings.
If the County Council ultimately decides not to approve the amendment requests, the applicant can appeal the decision. However, there is still an approved site plan in place for the development.
The current approval for the site is for 61,000-square-feet of commercial space comprised of seven buildings. The requested changes would reduce the number of buildings to two, although the commercial density would stay the same.
"There is already an approval right now on that site," Milliner said. "Tomorrow the applicant could come in and pull permits. But we are amending that. The downside to denying this is we wouldn’t get those affordable housing units and another project could still go forward. The approval part of this debate should be whether or not the new use, the Whole Foods, will have a bigger impact than what was already approved."
To view the staff report on the requested changes, go to http://summitcounty.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/09162015-587?html=true.