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Snyderville Basin Planning Commission looks at affordable housing strategies

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Parker Malatesta
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Last year Dakota Pacific was seeking to build over 1,000 housing units, a hotel, and office space on roughly 58 acres near the Skullcandy building. The developer eventually asked the county to pause its plans.

The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission will discuss affordable housing strategies when it meets Tuesday. It’s required to make headway on the issue as part of new state requirements aimed at easing the housing crisis.

House Bill 462, which became law this year, requires counties to choose affordable housing strategies from a list of options provided by the Legislature, and propose ways to put them into practice.

According to a staff report, Summit County is already using eight strategies that match some on the state’s list. For example, local rules already call for new developments to allocate a percentage of units to affordable housing.

As part of HB 462’s affordable housing requirements, Summit County must include a Housing and Transit Reinvestment Zone, or HTRZ in its plans.

An HTRZ requires at least 39 housing units per acre in certain areas centered around transit hubs - like Kimball Junction.

If the county doesn’t follow the Legislature’s directions, it could lose millions in funding for transportation projects.

Summit County officials have said developer Dakota Pacific targeted the county by lobbying to insert the HTRZ provision into the HB 462. A staff report says that the state is only requiring the county to pledge what it will do down the road, and that actually creating the HTRZ is not tied to funding.

Last year Dakota Pacific was seeking to build over 1,000 housing units, a hotel, and office space on roughly 58 acres near the Skullcandy building. The developer eventually asked the county to pause its plans after more than 1,000 residents attended a public hearing in December to oppose the project.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox told KPCW Monday the goal of HB 462 was to strike a proper balance with local jurisdictions when it comes to new housing development.

“We can’t have this NIMBYism mindset that we can’t build anything or have any density anywhere in our communities," Cox said. "Yes, we want local input. No, we shouldn’t just allow anything built anywhere. But within certain guidelines and certain understandings, we’re going to have to say yes to some things that neighbors want to say no to.”

Cox said local officials often don’t want to vote for a project that will leave them vulnerable in elections due to public opposition.

“There is no magic solution to this. It’s all zoning," he said. "We can be smart about it, put it in smart places, but if we’re just going to exclude it, if nobody wants it in their backyard, then we’re just going to keep doing this.”

The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission will hold a public hearing for the moderate-income housing plan and its HTRZ proposal at its meeting Tuesday.

The virtual meeting will begin at 6 p.m. The agenda and Zoom link can be found here

Parker Malatesta covers Park City for KPCW. Before coming to NPR, he spent one year as a general assignment reporter for TownLift in Park City. He previously was the news editor at The News Record, the student paper at the University of Cincinnati. He loves running, reading, and urban planning.