Guest opinion: There are many reasons not to support proposed Basin housing development
With regard to the recent letter from Charley Blue supporting the proposed development called Highland Flats (“A significant solution,” March 24-26), I would l like to make a few comments.
First of all, it needs to be noted and underlined that it is very easy for someone to support a project when it has little to no impact on where they live. Next, I would like to point out that if Mr. Blue was hunting in the vicinity 40 years ago, he was doing so long after the Highland Estates neighborhood was platted. There are 250 occupied lots in Highland Estates according to our water co-op (although most were not yet developed then), and there is no commercial development here other than a handful of lots along Highland Drive which were/are included in the original plat and approved by the county. Furthermore, it needs to be recognized that the proposed development is a commercial development, and a monumentally huge one at that. Only a portion of the proposed units are affordable housing; many of them are to be rented at current market rates. In addition, I would dare to suggest that Highland Estates will indeed be the most affected community if this goes ahead, for reasons outlined below.
One of the major objections that we all have is that the location of the complex is directly opposite the T-intersection of Highland Drive and Snowview Drive. Highland Drive is already a speedway, and Snowview Drive will undoubtedly become one, as it is virtually a straight line up to Trailside Elementary School from the proposed complex. It is a given that residents of the complex who have elementary-aged children will use Snowview Drive to get to the school. Snowview is a mere 24 feet wide, has no striping, no bike lanes, no curbing, no sidewalks. I hardly think that this is a minor concern; it will have a huge and very dangerous impact on us.
Finally, instead of “a few more cars” on Highland Drive, as Mr. Blue quaintly imagines there will be, the developers themselves have reckoned on an additional 3,000 trips per day along Highland Drive. To suggest this will have no impact on Highland Estates is frankly asinine.
Is it really so wrong to object to this development, when I purchased my home in good faith, 18 years ago, largely based on the fact that the neighborhood is zoned rural? Why should I not enjoy my planned rural retirement, instead of having to deal with a massive 400-unit rental apartment development, with all the many problems that such complexes bring? Ironically, I would be eligible to rent one of the lowest-priced units should the project go ahead, as I am working class and living on an extremely low income. I have to work in what I hoped would be my retirement, and I am desperately trying to hang on to the little that I have, which consists of my house in Highland Estates and not much else; many of my neighbors are in the same position. Massive rental apartment complexes generally have the effect of lowering property values in surrounding areas, due to the problems they bring with them, so there would go my hopes for financial security when I am no longer able to work. We all bought our homes here in good faith, and Summit County has done nothing but act in bad faith towards us.
But hey, I have a great idea for an alternative location. The developers should cast their eyes eastwards, towards Kamas, with its huge amount of empty, flat, easily buildable acres. Just the place for lots of housing, and only a short commute to Park City. An ideal spot for many hundreds of affordable housing units, I would think!
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“History buffs will tell you that Park City suffered many devastating fires fanned by canyon winds,” writes Andrea Barros. “It could happen again if we do not reduce wildfire fuel.”