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Jeremy Ranch Elementary will open on time despite stop work order on construction

Jeremy Ranch Elementary School
Park City School District
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After a meeting Thursday, the construction project could be before the Snyderville planning commission Aug. 23.

Summit County officials stand by their stop work order for the construction project at the school.

Limited construction work will continue at Jeremy Ranch Elementary School to make sure it is safe for the opening of school on August 17, a week before the Snyderville Planning Commission can consider the school district's application for a conditional use permit.

A stop work order and notice of violation was issued by the county for the project July 20. County officials said the school did not have the appropriate permits for the expansion project, which will add preschool facilities and a before-and-after school space.

At issue are differing legal views regarding the county’s authority to regulate school building projects.

Following a meeting Thursday between Park City School District and Summit County officials, Planning and Zoning Director Peter Barnes told KPCW the county stands by its stop work order on the expansion project.

Barnes was not at the meeting Thursday but says planner Amir Caus and Steve Dennis from the engineering department were present.

They discussed what limited amount of work might be allowed to happen in advance of review by the Snyderville Basin planning commission on August 23. Barnes said the storm water pollution plan was also approved.

“So, what the engineering department now is working on is some kind of description of the limited amount of work that may be allowed to continue in advance of receiving a conditional use permit," Barnes said.

He added that the planning department is working separately and going through the submission documents, review, and approval of the conditional use permit, or CUP. He says best case scenario is getting the CUP application before the planning commission at its August 23 meeting, a week after school starts.

The county, he says, acted appropriately when it issued the stop work order, and state law is on their side.

“I'm gonna let the school district lawyers talk to our lawyers over that,” Barnes said. “We’re of the opinion that the Utah State Board of Education is pretty clear on their pre-construction checklists that does make reference to requirements for conditional use permit under those certain circumstances where they are required. We believe it is required. We have the information. We have the application." Barnes continued, "The planning department is going to process it accordingly, as fast as we can. Whatever disputes occur outside that processing, we're not going to get held up by that. We're just going to move forward as fast as we can.”

Even though they have an efficient project manager on the case, he says the analysis, processing, and public notice takes time.

“We think we can do it for August,” Barnes said. “We think we have the information. It’s a matter of extracting it in the appropriate form, putting it in a report that's clear and understandable to the planning commission and the public who may turn up and we think we can get this processed, ASAP."

The county allowed the district to finish up work on a sewer line connection and will allow some limited construction in the coming weeks that Barnes says won’t jeopardize anything the planning commission would need to deal with. The county wants to ensure there is a safe and efficient means of getting students in and out of school when it does open.

Tough but fair, Leslie is the woman most of Park City wakes up with every weekday morning. Leslie has been at KPCW since 1990 and her years at KPCW have given her depth and insight, guiding her as she asks local leaders and citizens the questions on everyone’s minds during the live interviews of the Local News Hour.