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Summit County Council Works To Squash Phantom Building Rumor

During a Wednesday meeting, as Summit County Council looked at the Kimball Junction Master Plan, they discussed broad concepts such as walkability and mixed uses.

But the Council also addressed a nagging suspicion, from many residents, that a scheme for a “phantom building” is hidden away in the plan.

During Wednesday’s discussion, County Council Member Doug Clyde said that, from the time the Master Plan was announced, he’s been getting numerous calls from citizens concerned that in the sketch plan, a box in a red dotted outline, denotes a new building that would go to the north of the Newpark Hotel.

“Many people have called me about that and said what are you doing?” Clyde continued. “Are you putting more density into Newpark? What's going on? How can you do that? I have done my best to explain to these people that, no there is no new density proposed for Newpark. That red box was a remnant of a developers plan from a few years ago, it has no significance in terms of providing new density. That said, I spent probably an hour on the phone the other day with a gentleman who is very concerned about that red box and he was literally going to fly from New York out here to talk to us this evening to tell us that he didn't want that red box to become residential.”

The council heard from Susan DeNiro, President of the Newpark Townhomes HOA, with 95 members. She said they were worried that the sketch plan, with the red box, appears on several pages of the Master Plan.

“We respectfully are asking the County council to remove all reference of this,” DeNiro requested. “So that, it doesn't imply to future councils that there was an intention of putting a building on this lot.”

Council Chairman Roger Armstrong had a simple response to the complaint from DeNiro.

“Can we just lose the phantom building?” Armstrong asked, “do we have to have the phantom building there?”

Senior staff planner Peter Barnes told the council he marked the box there, and it doesn’t denote a future building site.

“I drew it,” Barnes explained. “I can un-draw it. We have a development agreement. The purpose of the general plan was to say if we were going to reopen development groups, if we were going to look at an alternative, to surface parking what would that be?”

“Take it out,” Armstrong said. “I get it. I get it just take it out I don’t want to have this conversation again about that building. That building in particular is causing undue concern among residents in that area. It is detracting from a conversation about the overall plan. Take it out.”

Council member Clyde said the concern from neighbors is understandable.

“The difficulty is that there are hundreds of homeowners there that have relied upon the development agreement that said that's all it's going to be built in Newpark,” Clyde continued. “Now we've identified a potential new building plan.”

“That was proposed before and turned down,” Armstrong said. “So, it’s already controversial take it out. It doesn't belong there. Pat, I thought we’ve had this conversation get rid of it please.” Putt replied with a “No problem,” with which Armstrong answered with a “Thank You.”

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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