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New Location For Children's Justice Center Approved

Summit County

There was good news this week for the Children’s Justice Center, as the Snyderville Planning Commission unanimously approved a new location for the facility, on the west side of Highway 40.

The Justice Center, which has been located at the Richins Services Building, is intended as a safe, comfortable environment where children in suspected abuse cases can be interviewed by law enforcement.

The Snyderville Planners on Tuesday approved a Conditional Use Permit to put the Center on the Belcher property near the Silver Summit Interchange. The single-family parcel has been well-known to passing motorists in recent years since the Belchers hosted a small animal collection, including a buffalo and a zebra.

A public hearing brought out a few residents. One concern raised was lighting, but Snyderville Commissioner Malena Stevens told us there will be no difference from the current residential lighting.

Another issue raised was safety. Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez said they will have unmarked police cars at the facility and they don’t want to advertise their presence.

Stevens said the intent is for the facility to be low profile

“Part of the purpose with the justice center is they want to have a safe, fairly inconspicuous place for children and families of those children to be able to come, feel safe, and be able to have children tell their stories. Without fear that all eyes are on them and everyone’s going to know what and why they’re there.” Stevens continued, “So, I think that the unmarked vehicles, having a location that’s a little out of the way, there are some significant berms that kind of hide the residence as well. I think it’s a great location for that use because it’s going to make those children feel comfortable, it’s out of the way. Typically suspects in those cases don’t know children are being interviewed so there’s a low risk of having any sort of safety issue for the children and or the neighbors.”

The property will also be used as storage by the Sheriff’s Department with some conditions.

“There is a stipulation that they cannot have any sort of storage outside. So, pallets or anything outside.” Stevens explained, “There is currently already a storage structure on the property and so the idea is they’ll just use that storage structure for either sheriff’s office storage, or county attorney office storage or children’s justice center storage.”

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