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Eastern County Residents Provide Feedback On Hoytsville Village Overlay

Summit County

The Summit County Council on Wednesday cast a couple of votes to launch the study process for a Hoytsville Village Overlay. 

While one Council Member said the new concept in the East County Code is “exciting but daunting” they also heard concerns from neighbors, asking if they will be able to have input into the plan. 

County Development Director Pat Putt told the Council that in late April, 28 property owners came forward with what is called the Cedar Crest Overlay Zone. Their total ownership amounts to 1,100 acres in the Hoytsville area. 

The council voted unanimously to approve the boundaries for the Overlay—4 to 0, with council member Chris Robinson absent. 

Putt said the Overlay concept came out of their recent revision of the East County Code, given the fact that their old planning tools were limited. 

He said the Overlay is a from-the-ground-up process, where landowners would attempt to forge an ideal community moving into the future. He said the Overlay, going to the East County Planning Commission and then the council, would set a land plan, zoning recommendations, densities and design standards. 

The Council also approved the members of a local study committee—consisting of Lareen Judd, Mike Crittenden, Stefan Bower, two members of the dairy-farming Brown family—Mel Brown and his nephew Mike and two alternates. 

The council also stipulated that up to three members from the East County Planning Commission will be added by the East County chair, Tom Clyde. 

The item drew about 40 people in the audience. During some brief public comment, Alice Rees said she’s worried that the process is one-sided—in favor of the owners who want to develop their land. 

“So, what affects the people who lives in Hoytsville, we have no say on,” Rees asked. “Just you guys, is that correct?” 

“Well you do have input.” A council member responded.

“Input, but no voting.” Rees said. 

“That’s correct, yeah” A council member said. 

“So, we’ve got a group of landowners whose best interest is to change the zoning putting forth a committee to persuade you to do what they want,” Rees questioned. “Is that the point of this?” 

“That’s probably a fair point,” Council member Roger Armstrong answered. “The village overlay was designed for the purpose of allowing some flexibility in zoning. For better designs of communities.” 

Another resident, Robin Reed, suggested they should take care to make sure that Open Space and Recreation are provided in any Overlay. She also suggested that if the owners are looking for a financial return on their land, that need could be addressed by some non-profit land preservation groups. 

“I know a lot of these original land owners are looking to retire now probably looking for a cash out of their land,” Reed said. “They’re land rich cash poor possibly. I don't know.  

“I’d say before we cast judgment on them and their purpose, let's give them an opportunity to develop a plan that we can react to.” Council member Kim Carson interjected. 

“With land conservancy,” Reed continued. “Might be part of the recreation and the trails and what not. I know in Park City they loved to pay millions and millions of dollars for their open space, which would certainly satisfy the land owners.” 

Meanwhile landowner Mike Brown asked the council and audience to give them a chance to work out a good plan. 

“Once its established the interior line to this boundary will be erased,” Brown said. “There can't be any personal property owner with thier own agenda, or it doesn’t work. We're not coming into this blindly. This is Christopher Columbus coming across, we realize it's a brand-new process, but we could have all come in with an MPD. That would have perpetuated just what a lot of our neighbors don't want. So I think our neighbors, you know we're trying to be respectful to them I think they need to quit picking at the scabs a little bit. Give us an opportunity to roll something out.” 

Roger Armstrong said the public will have access during the Overlay study, and he said East County constituents haven’t been shy about speaking out. 

“So once this thing is baked to the point that is ready for it, that they bring it back to the Planning Commission,” Armstrong continued. “They’ll have to go through the Planning Commission and all the hearings that go on into that. I have not found that any residents in Eastern Summit County are shy about sharing their opinions, on any kind of land uses good or bad. They tend to show up in groups actually larger than this and working their way out the doors. The hearings for this will be held here in Colville. They won’t be held in Park City they'll be held here. They’ll be noticed and I guarantee you like other major projects that we do that it will be broadcast to the community that the hearings are happening.  

Council member Glenn Wright urged locals to treat each other with respect and strive for as much consensus as they can. 

Council member Kim Carson also said she was confident about the process. 

“I see it as a community visioning process,” Carson explained. “What do you want to be? I see it as an opportunity to be very creative and innovative, so it's exciting but daunting.”

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.