Guest opinion: County Council is putting the cart before the horse on Kimball Junction proposal | ParkRecord.com
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Guest opinion: County Council is putting the cart before the horse on Kimball Junction proposal

Bruce Kirchenheiter
Snyderville Basin

As a 32-year resident of the Snyderville Basin I am writing regarding the request by Dakota Pacific for changes to the approved land use of the Tech Center property. I attended the Summit County Council’s work session on Nov. 17 and learned a lot. The proposal is still very much a work in progress as evidenced by the last-minute changes discussed at the meeting. A project with such significant and long-lasting impact to the community deserves a thorough vetting and analysis. After completion of that analysis the public deserves an unbiased presentation discussing the council’s goals for the community and how this project would fulfill those. The council going forward with the project without buy in from constituents would be divisive and injurious to the community.

The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission has already given a negative recommendation on this proposal. Public sentiment appears to be very strongly against it. There are many questions regarding the proposal for which I have not heard a convincing answer.

• Water: The proposed change for residential and a hotel will have significantly greater water usage than the currently approved Tech Center use.



• Traffic: There is no question the immediate impact will significantly negatively impact current residents. There is no guarantee UDOT can or will make improvements, and even if they do, it will mean putting up with many years of worse traffic before any improvement.

• Preventing sprawl: This land is not currently zoned for residential, so the residential proposed here is in addition to what is being built elsewhere. It does not prevent sprawl, it adds to it.



• Affordable housing: 1) As I understand it much of the affordable housing is in Phase Two of the development. Phase Two is conditional, so it may not be built. 2) Do the proposed number of affordable housing units actually remedy the current shortage or will it even be enough to provide for the increased number of workers at the commercial spaces of the development?

• Sustainability: Use patterns for residential and a hotel will be different than for office-type usage in the currently approved Tech Center. Renewable energy may work some of the time for the predominantly daytime occupation of the Tech Center, but the residential, retail and hotel units will add significant demands to the electric grid during nighttime hours when solar is not available, and wind-generated power may not be available.

• County services: Residential development will put a much greater demand on services such as the School District, water reclamation and emergency services. Development does not pay for itself — the burden of these increases will be borne by the taxpayers.

• The Tech Center under the current land-use authorization will be a slow buildout, spreading construction over a long time. The Dakota Pacific proposal will result in a huge amount of construction very soon, something I and I suspect many other residents do not want.

Summit County Council, please take the time to articulate a plan for what is desired in that parcel, then analyze how this proposal fits that plan and what benefits to the community it offers. That will require first having a finalized proposal, not one sent out hours before the meeting at which it will be considered. It seems as though the process is being rushed, putting the cart before the horse. Please take the time to do this the right way, and please respect the will of your constituents. This constituent is opposed to approval of Dakota Pacific’s request.


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