Guest editorial: Thank you, Summit County Council, for suing the state and Dakota Pacific |

Guest editorial: Thank you, Summit County Council, for suing the state and Dakota Pacific

The significance of this action cannot be minimized

Vincent A. (Van) Novack Snyderville Basin
Park Record guest editorial

A quote attributed to novelist James Lane Allen states, “adversity does not build character, it reveals it.”  We who live in Summit County are very fortunate that our County Council has collectively personified this credo by choosing to fight the state of Utah and Dakota Pacific Real Estate (DPRE).

As announced publicly on the Summit County website, Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson filed a 46-page complaint on March 15, 2023, in the Third District Court in Summit County against Park City Junction, LLC dba Dakota Pacific Real Estate (Dakota Pacific) and the state of Utah. The complaint challenges the constitutionality of Senate Bill 84, seeks to enforce Summit County’s rights under the 2008 Park City Tech Center Development Agreement, and asks for the court to find that Dakota Pacific breached its covenant of good faith and fair dealing under the Development Agreement.

The significance of this action cannot be minimized. DPRE has been trying to strong-arm the county into changing the zoning on acreage it acquired in the Park City Tech Center in order to build a massive mixed-use development. Public opinion has been strongly against any of their proposals from their inception. Throughout the process, DPRE chose to deal almost exclusively with the County Council and made little attempt to appeal to the general public for support.

When it became apparent to DPRE that approval for the zoning change wasn’t assured, it enlisted the assistance of its friends in the Utah Legislature and attempted to take the decision out of the hands of our local representatives. S.B. 84 is just the latest gambit employed by DPRE. This bill is clearly aimed at Summit County and particularly the development DPRE is trying to build. S.B. 84 allows DPRE to build their development without County approval.

The easy way out for the Summit County Council would have been to approve the project, or in light of S.B. 84, simply do nothing and allow the legislation to give the green light. Instead, our County Council has chosen the difficult path of simultaneously fighting two behemoths on our behalf. It should be noted this action will not just prevent interlopers and state legislators from pushing unwanted development on Summit County. The lawsuit will possibly have wide legal ramifications for the entire state including small rural counties that do not have the wherewithal to mount such a fight.

Humans tend to be more vocal in complaint than in praise. In this instance, the citizens of Summit County should thank our County Council for standing up for their constituents by fighting to retain local control over the future of the Snyderville Basin and Summit County.

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