Guest editorial: I respectfully request censure of County Councilor Doug Clyde
To County Council Members and Summit County Citizens:
I respectfully request censure of Council Member Doug Clyde for his recent, racially provocative accusation toward Pinebrook community residents. Asserting that we oppose a 22-unit development on a 1.1 acre parcel in lower Pinebrook because we do not “like the brown people” was a disparaging slap to his fellow citizens. He should apologize and recuse himself from any further consideration of the developer’s unreasonable proposal.
The real reasons for widespread opposition to the proposal are its incompatibility with immediately surrounding neighborhoods, impact on safety, parking, property values and degradation of general livability. To accomplish this plan, the developer requires that the Council ignore and override the Snyderville Basin General Plan zoning and planning law enacted into law by this Council. Council approval would be counter to the General Plan’s stated Land Use goal to “Promote sustainable Land Use Planning Principles that preserve Critical Lands, maintain neighborhood character, protect the economic base, prevent sprawl, and provide efficient delivery of services” (bold emphasis added). This goal and the developer’s plan are in direct opposition.
Objective C requires development “that match existing development and or promote desired future development.” Policy 2.12 instructs to “Maintain the residential character of existing residential neighborhoods.” This proposal doesn’t do so. The parcel lies at the very center of existing neighborhoods. Immediately adjacent are Elk Run, the Ranch Condominiums, Horse Thief Canyon, and Pinebrook Cottages. These average a 5-7 units per acre density. In stark contrast, this proposal triples density levels to 22 units per acre. Also, the surrounding neighborhoods character is single unit ownership. Instead of promoting “affordable ownership”, the developer intends to manage this as short/medium-term rentals billed as “affordable” housing. Such a change would compromise the “character” of lower Pinebrook and negatively impacting the “economic base”, also contrary to the stated goals of the General Plan.
The General Plan Chapter 2 – Land Use Policy 2.3 informs prohibition of spot zoning: “Do not approve any new entitlement beyond those permitted by the Development Code until such time that existing entitlements are significantly exhausted”. The developer willingly purchased this singular parcel with its associated limitations and zoning restrictions. No plan has been submitted for the parcel in accordance with those limitations. Instead, their first submission requires significant zoning change from Rural Residential to Community Commercial. Clearly, they have not exhausted existing entitlements. Their request embodies the very definition of “spot zoning”. Changing this single parcel’s longstanding zoning to gain additional entitlement would set precedent for others to acquire properties with the ill-intention of changing the well-considered general plans of Summit County Planning through similar “spot zoning” appeals. With precedent set, no neighborhood within Summit County would be protected from spot zoning and overbuilding.
Finally, to approve the developer’s plan, Council must ignore the public scrutiny expressed at the Summit County Planning Commission’s public meeting as well as that body’s unanimous opinion rejecting the developer’s plan. County Council action to approve this plan would be counter to both the General Plan ordinances and appropriate governance.
I speak for many in the Elk Run Phase IV community as President of its HOA Board in saying that we do not oppose “affordable housing.” But we are against this plan for one single lot in the middle of our neighborhood. By ordinance, by common sense, and for the betterment of all, we ask the Council to join with its Planning Commission in rejecting the developer’s request.
And we ask for Council member Clyde’s recusal and a direct, clear apology.
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