The Park Record editorial, May 14-17, 2011
Park City Planning Commissioner Adam Strachan is probably right in assuming that local citizens will be shocked when construction begins on the newly approved Park City Heights project. Located southwest of the intersection of State Road 248 and U.S. 40, the project is slated to include 239 residential units. Strachan is anticipating a vocal protest when the bulldozers start rolling.
But there was no outcry when the Planning Commission held its last public hearing in a two-year-long process on Wednesday. There was no public comment for or against the developer’s proposal and, after a vigorous debate among the commissioners, approval was granted on a split vote with commission chairman Charlie Wintzer forced to cast the tiebreaker.
Green-lighting a project of that magnitude is a heavy burden for five regular citizens to shoulder and, far from reveling in the power, the commissioners said they were extremely disappointed by the lack of public input.
Even the commissioners who voted in favor of Park City Heights admitted some reservations about the design and the density. A few well-thought-out comments from surrounding neighbors or the public at large could easily have swayed the outcome. But given the absence of protest, the commissioners leaned in favor of the Boyer Company’s application, which will allow for a mix of more than 200 workforce and regular homes while preserving 171 acres of the parcel as open space.
On balance, the subdivision plan makes sense. The land was annexed into the city and therefore will be developed within an incorporated municipality that is well equipped to provide infrastructure and services. Also, the homes will have easy access to trails and public transportation. But there will be tradeoffs too, especially in terms of additional traffic along the city’s eastern entry corridor.
One thing is clear, though. The project has been approved and the window for debate has closed. The growth and development critics who invariably show up after the survey stakes are planted have forfeited their chance to oppose the project and the Planning Commissioners deserve credit for their hard work and diligence.
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