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Summit County Council Approves Density Transfer To Commons At Newpark Project

The Summit County Council on Wednesday approved a transfer of density from the Snyderville Recreation District. It will go to the Commons at Newpark project and would pave the way for the project to be changed—for one thing, adding affordable housing.

The approval, though, was 4 to 1. The dissenting council member was hopeful that the purchase could also include an agreement about the amphitheater space next to the Commons location.

The agreement is for some 27,370 square feet, left over from the density that the Recreation District bought for the Basin Fieldhouse.

It is being purchased for $300,000 by developer Gary Crandall and his sons Matt and Ryan. Their Commons at Newpark project has been approved by the county, but with the added density, the Crandalls will change the plan.

In his report, Deputy County Attorney Dave Thomas noted the initial Commons project was comprised of townhomes, at market-rate, and without commercial on the bottom floor.

That brought out the critics. And after the Commons was approved by the Snyderville Planning Commission and the County Manager, opponents appealed it to the county council.

“You upheld the managers decision and approved Newpark Commons, but I think there was some discussion by the council that they wished the development might relook at this and see if they could make a better project.” Thomas explained, “They took that to heart and with this extra density, if you approve the purchase, they will have a mixed-use development that will go through the planning commission.”

The new plan would have a bottom floor of commercial, and two floors of affordable housing above that.

He said they talked with the county’s Economic Development Director, Jeff Jones, about the level of Average Median Income (AMI) for the housing.

“At first what we said is that it all has to be 80% AMI,” Thomas continued, “but after talking with Jeff he recommended that it should be an average of 80% AMI to allow perhaps some attainable housing with affordable housing.”

The density for the project will jump from about 10,000 square feet to over 37,000 square feet. But Thomas said the building will actually be lower than the previous 45-foot-height, because it is spread out more on the site.

But in addition, the Common’s attorney, Justin Keys, noted they had conversations with the Recreation District about an exchange to transfer title of the nearby amphitheater, owned by the Crandalls, to the District.

Keys said the Crandalls offered the land in exchange for a reduction in the $300,000 purchase price.

“So, we’ve pursued that a couple of ways.” Keys said, “We did approach Basin Rec about taking on the responsibility for that amphitheater and I think there was some hesitation on their part as to whether or not they’d want to own that space and have to manage it. So we had a little bit of negotiation about that and the way we had proposed it was simply making that exchange part of the compensation for the density and that wasn’t accepted, but I think we’re still open to some approach that conserves that space.”

Given that, Council Member Chris Robinson suggested putting off a vote on the Purchase Agreement until some agreement could be reached on the “loose end” of the amphitheater land. He said this is a logical time to address it, rather than leave the fate of the property undecided.

“I get this, that they made a deal.” Robinson explained, “Part of our job is to pass judgment on their deal and we’re the decision maker. Secondly, this issue for all of us, for the future outcome of that amphitheater was important. I’d like to suggest we’d table this for a week so we can talk to them.”

Robinson said he wanted to find out what concerns were felt by the Recreation District. Dave Thomas said that, for one thing, the District was concerned that acquiring the amphitheater would be an added cost for them.

Meanwhile, Council member Roger Armstrong said he was uncomfortable throwing in a new condition to the agreement. His colleague, Doug Clyde agreed.

“I have to step in here and say I greatly appreciate the effort and the intent of the developer and everything they’ve done here.” Clyde continued, “ I think it’s marvelous, therefore I’m reticent to burden this with anymore requirements.”

Matt Crandall said that their new plan for the Commons aimed to address the major objections that had been thrown at the development.

But he said they felt they should get some compensation if they add the amphitheater. It’s an important space valued by visitors to Newpark.

“Regardless how much people want to accept it that property has value to us.” Crandall said, “It actually is a money-making venture for us. It’s an outdoor space that people love to use especially in the summer times. People come to Park City not to be inside a conference room but to be outdoors.”

Under the Purchase Agreement, the Crandalls will close their purchase of the density, once the new plan is recommended by Snyderville Planning Commission and approved by the County Manager.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covers Summit County meetings and issues. KPCW snagged him from The Park Record in the '80s, and he's been on air and covering the entire county ever since. He produces the Week In Review podcast, as well a heads the Friday Film Review team.
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