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How Can Local Governments Plan For Growth? Wasatch Back Stakeholders Will Discuss


Traffic, an affordable housing shortage, crowding on trails—residents along the Wasatch Back have been feeling the effects of growth in different ways. The upcoming Project for Deeper Understanding aims to address how policymakers and stakeholders can collaborate to prepare and mitigate the impacts of growth as a region. 

Summit County Councilmember Glenn Wright guesses the regional population of the Wasatch Back will soon catch up to the metropolitan area on the Wasatch Front.

“I would think that within 10 to 20 years, we could have the population of Salt Lake City in that area," Wright said. "So, we've got to start working on things.”

Wright says he recently attended a conference of governments where the need for regional planning was a focus. That, and a column by Tom Clyde on the same topic inspired Wright to bring together a panel through the Project for Deeper Understanding hosted by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

Hideout Town Manager Jan McCosh will be part of the conversation. Hideout’s population is nearing 1,000 residents, but the town currently has no amenities. McCosh says that leads to increased traffic on State Route 248, impacting other towns, as Hideout residents head into Park City or Kamas for groceries and gas.

“We need to be able to build some commercial in our area, so we don't continue to create traffic problems and contribute to the environmental problems of carbon pollution, light pollution and noise pollution," McCosh said. "We have all of those types of issues, and to the extent we can create something more central, that's important to us.”

The idea of collaboration between entities with similar interests shouldn’t be novel and new, but Wright says the governments and other stakeholders on the Wasatch Back have only talked about it and haven’t really accomplished much together.

"I think we’re getting to a critical point in the development of the region where we have to get serious about this issue, and I hope this forum that we conduct will be a starting point to bring the various municipal and county entities and the business community--Bill Malone is going to be on our panel. I think the business community has a large part to play in this effort," Wright said.

The panel includes Summit County Community Development Manager Pat Putt; Park City Mayor Andy Beerman; Wasatch County Councilmember Danny Goode; Hideout Town Manager Jan McCosh; Park City Chamber CEO Bill Malone; and Shawn Seager, planning director with the Mountainland Association of Governments.

The Project for Deeper Understanding on growth and regional planning is Tuesday, Sept. 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. Park Record editor Bubba Brown will moderate the first hour of the forum, then the panel will take questions from the audience. KPCW will broadcast the event live.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.