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Planning Commission Provides Feedback On Revised South Pointe Project

In the coming months, Summit County’s planning staff will be analyzing several issues on the revised South Pointe project near Brown’s Canyon Road.

After the East County Planning Commission was introduced to the new version last week, the Planning Commissioners had some feedback on the employee housing in the project, the level of commercial there, and the road access to the development.

The developers said that South Pointe is separate from the massive Promontory projects to the north, but they are transferring the 45 residential units from Promontory, for a total of 330 residential units, and 10,000 square feet of commercial.

Attorney Tom Ellison said they aren’t presenting a project design at this time but are proposing amendments to the Promontory Specially-Planned Area Development Agreement and the South Pointe “SPA” Development Agreement.

East Side Planning Commissioner Don Sargent told KPCW later that the applicants say they’re adapting to market conditions and aim to create a more viable project by building more medium-income residential units.

Among the comments, the East Side Commissioners reacted to the applicants’ plan to meet Promontory’s obligation for employee housing by placing 35 units in South Pointe.

Planning Commissioner Bill Wilde said he liked parts of the plan, but it frustrates him that Promontory, approved in 2001, still hasn’t come forward with the employee housing.

“We still have not seen the commitment made and now reading this we’re going to be out five years longer if that’s what they chose.” Wilde said, “That’s a total of 25 years we’ve been waiting for employee housing. I think they’re putting it at the end of the project. I understand money, I understand finances, but the obligation has not been done. I don’t believe it was ever anybody’s intent in their wildest imagination in 2001 that the employee housing would not get looked at by now.”

Sargent said all the Planning Commissioners are anxious to see the employee units in the plan.

“The development agreement’s a little vague on that with respect to timing other than when employment generators were built.” Sargent explained, “Which there are several up there as you know. That this employee housing would come online.”

Promontory is also proposing to build five of the employee units within a year; and the other 30 within five years after the first plat in South Pointe gets underway. Sargent said that phasing is a concern for the East Side Commission.

“We’re not exactly I would say 100% comfortable with that.” Sargent explained, “We’d like to see more of those come online earlier. As indicated the employment generators are already there, people are traveling, employees are traveling in and out of the entire project to work. It should be an opportunity for at least a portion of those employees to live right there in the project area. That demand is already there so we’d like to maybe accelerate that. Again, that’s a discussion plan we’ll have with them at a forthcoming date.”

The applicants said that in 2007, the county approved an amendment for Promontory mandating that the employee housing would go into South Pointe. But East Side Commissioner Tonja Hanson said they still haven’t heard why.

“I’m really looking for that from you to help build our trust and our relationship moving forward.” Hanson asked, “What’s the why behind this? Why do you want employee housing here and not where they will be working? I don’t understand that. You’ve got walkability, accessibility, transportation issue with your employees. Why?”

Planning Commissioner Tom Clyde said it could be beneficial if South Pointe becomes more of a medium-income area. But if it becomes a neighborhood for primary year-round residents, that would have an impact on traffic in the area.

“The impact of 300 primary residences that are occupied by mom and dad and five teenagers who are so far away from anything that they have to drive to everything.” Clyde continued, “That’s a different traffic volume than the giant house in Promontory that’s empty the vast majority of the time except for the guys who come in to service the hot tub, water the plants, that kind of traffic. Because we’ve got that traffic load, I would still like to see a credible traffic review of what happens on 248.”

Clyde added that there is a need for a commercial base, to serve South Pointe and the Wasatch-county development near the Jordanelle.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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