Record editorial: Elected officials should heed opposition to Kimball Junction development |

Record editorial: Elected officials should heed opposition to Kimball Junction development

Next month, residents will crowd into a Summit County Council meeting to weigh in on the controversial proposal for a massive mixed-use development at the Tech Center site in Kimball Junction.

It seems likely that a consistent message will emerge during the public hearing from those delivering remarks to the elected officials, who have the authority to approve or deny the ambitious project: Just say “no.”

The elected officials should listen to their constituents, who appear largely opposed to the prospect of 1,100 housing units, a hotel, office buildings and commercial space rising on land that is currently undeveloped west of S.R. 224. The much-discussed possibility of the county utilizing the project and the developer’s political clout as a means to make progress on the county’s goals for Kimball Junction — enticing the Utah Department of Transportation to pursue an ambitious solution to traffic congestion, most notably — is intriguing. But there are no guarantees at this point that the approach will achieve the desired result.

Those questions may be unsettled, but one thing is clear: Many residents have little appetite for a development of this scope at the site. It’s not hard to see why, since the project would add perhaps 3,000 residents and a significant amount of vehicle trips to an area already grappling with strained infrastructure and growth pressures.

True, there is significant entitled density in the existing development agreement. But that density is unlikely to be built in the near term. In fact the agreement, which restricts development to tech-related uses, has essentially served to limit growth at the site. That’s been a significant positive, even if the original vision of attracting tech companies and high-paying jobs that would help diversify the economy has fizzled out.

Given the option of sticking with the status quo or approving the development with the hope the added traffic will push state transportation officials to prioritize fixing the Kimball Junction interchange in the next decade, the vast majority of residents would choose the former.

While the latter approach is alluring enough to have warranted serious consideration from the County Council, the elected officials must now either win clear support from their constituents for that course of action — which is unlikely — or reject the proposal.

Approving such a significant development over the objections of the people they serve, who have well-founded worries about the project, would be a mistake.

The Summit County Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing about the project on Dec. 1. The meeting was initially scheduled for Nov. 17 but was postponed Friday. County officials had not announced a venue for the Dec. 1 hearing by midday Friday. For information, visit

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