No Decision Regarding Commons At Newpark

Aug 9, 2018

The Summit County Council Wednesday did not come to a decision, after hearing an appeal against the Commons at Newpark project.

Developer Gary Crandall and his sons Matt and Ryan have proposed the Commons as a building with seven townhomes, up to 43 feet high, just west of the Newpark Plaza.

The project got a positive vote from the Snyderville Commission earlier this year and received a final approval in June from County Manager Tom Fisher.

But an appeal was filed by a group called "Preserve the Newpark Plaza" including a number of developer associated with the neighboring Newpark Hotel.

They contend the Commons doesn't conform with the principles contained in the Development Agreement and site plan for the Newpark Town Center.

The Commons parcel was once designated for commercial. A focus in the arguments Wednesday concerned a provision which says that changes in Newpark can be made3 to adapt to market conditions.

But attorney Andrew Blonquist, for the appellants, argued the proponents of the plan are only quoting part of the provision. He said that Newpark allows flexibility, but a project still has to conform to the principles of a Town Center.

Those principles, he said, mandate that buildings are only up to two or three stories, and they don't have residential fronting on Newpark's Main Street.

"You don't put residential in the middle of commercial. I don't know that Park City Main Street would want this project in its current form put right in the middle of its commercial space. I'm not sure that any other city would want this right in the middle of a strip mall." Blonquist said, "Having residential doors enter on the street right next to commercial doors, having garage doors exit right into a park is problematic. Unless, there's vested property rights."

His presentation said that the principles of the Town Center are more important than "conferring discretionary benefits to a single person to maximize profits in a one-time money grab."

"We're not trying to object to any vested property rights. The only property rights we're objecting to are discretionary property rights that we feel like were improperly granted through an improper application of the market conditions clause." Blonquist continued, "I think they're still assured their vested property rights that they have under the development agreement. Anything that's plain language in the development agreement, we're not contesting. We're only contesting those additional rights, and you guys have a duty to interpret this ordinance in this manner."

Meanwhile, Summit County's chief civil attorney, Dave Thomas, made the case that the county was correct in granting an approval to the Commons.

He said the Town Center principles are not just about Main Street.

"The Town Center that we're talking about is the entire Redstone Park side. Not just Main Street, it is the entirety of it. The whole idea was it was to be mixed-use. It was supposed to be commercial next door to residential." Thomas continued, "To have residential on top, the storefronts on the bottom but also standalone residential, standalone commercial. It was supposed to be dense. This was that area that the county had indicated would be its town center."

He said in the original Newpark approval, the Market Conditions provision was a new idea, because the county thought that Newpark developers might have to change plans on the fly. He said that concept has been used a lot

"If you were to look at the SPA plan, which are the exhibits, and you were to compare that against what's on the ground right now in Redstone Parkside--you'd be astonished. It's completely different." Thomas said, "When I say completely different, I mean completely different. The market conditions clause was used by the developer countless times. Not just with the Newpark hotel raising it to four-stories, Nieves which was on Main Street. Many of the structures there were changed using this market condition clause."