Village expansion stalled because of walking options
February 17, 2012
The Summit County Council postponed making a final decision on a proposed expansion of the Village at Kimball Junction Wednesday night because of walkability and connectivity issues they said were unresolved.
The 50,000-square-foot expansion of the Village would include a gas station, financial institution, a Del Taco and four new commercial businesses. Council member Sally Elliott said she had no problem with the proposal but said the developers had not taken the community’s interests into consideration when redesigning the area.
"There is nothing in this new project that makes me want to go there and recreate or do anything not in my car," Elliott said. "It is all straight lines that need to be broken up."
Developer Bret Wahlen said they tried to create connections between all the existing businesses and parking lots and planned on making the area "bike and walker friendly." Summit County Traffic Engineer Kent Wilkerson said the developer’s submitted plan was "as good as the area was going to get" unless a tunnel or pedestrian overpass was installed.
Planning Commissioner Annette Velarde said residents were not going to walk across parking lots as the developer’s recreation plan suggests, especially with the increased traffic in the area.
"We need places where people with their children and bikes can walk safely. We need more creativity than drawing lines along a parking lot and saying this is where people will walk," she said.
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Wahlen was dismayed by the setback and questioned the County’s policy that requires developers to have an almost complete development plan prior to seeking approval if the Planning Commission and Council were only going to demand changes that take additional time and money.
The Council asked Wahlen to review the development’s connectivity options and return for another public hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 29.