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Snyderville Planning Commission Still Seeks Information On Colby Site Proposal

The Snyderville Planning Commission has not made a decision yet on the latest proposal to redevelop the Colby School site.    They’re seeking further information in the coming weeks.

However, the Planning Commission, at their last meeting, did cast a vote to approve the expansion of the Mountain Life Church in Silver Creek.

About two years ago, the Summit County council turned down, on appeal, a proposal to redevelop the Colby site with a hotel, restaurant, fitness areas and other uses.

The owners are now proposing to convert the Colby School, once known as the Snowed Inn, into an 8-unit bed and breakfast operation with a kitchen.

But the proposal also calls for one unit to be owner-occupied.   Snyderville Planning Chairwoman Malena Stevens said since the building is held by a corporate LLC, they struggled to figure out who the owner would be.

To help them decide, their legal counsel looked back to an approval in 2013 for the Silver Moose Ranch, which was also owned by an LLC.      

“We looked at that precedent.   We wanted some additional information regarding that issue so that we can make sure we’re being both consistent but also in line with the county code”

Another issue is controlling the events, such as weddings, that could be held there.   Stevens said neighbors are concerned the Colby approval could open the door to loud gatherings with hundreds of people.     

“We spoke with the applicant and staff, and it looks like having a specified number of people, versus people staying in the hotel, was an easier thing to both enforce and also allow the applicant to more easily comply with, and so they’re coming back with some idea as far as what that number would reasonably be.  And that also gives the neighbors a little bit better idea as far as what those events would look like, without getting a special event permit.”

On another item, the Planning Commission voted to approve the expansion of the Mountain Life Church, which includes more parking spaces.    Stevens said they’re mitigating the impacts on the surrounding neighborhood, so that the parking area at night doesn’t come across like a Wal-Mart lot, lit up 24-7.       

“So the parking lot, and the church expansion, because they were one application, the use of the parking lot is tied to that as a church.  So if that, for instance, the church expanded to a point, sold, went somewhere else, there was a new tenant there that wanted to utilize it differently, they would have to come back to the Planning Commission and go through the whole process again.”

The Planning Commissioners considered if they should limit the number of events at the Church.   Stevens said in the end, they decided they couldn’t do that.      

“The advice we were given by our legal counsel was that, coming up with a specific number can be dicey, because there’s not a precedent for that.  Figuring out what is reasonable could be construed as arbitrary and capricious, or something that is not enforceable and that could actually have an opposite effect.  And so that’s why we didn’t end up going with a specified number of events.   Also that’s very difficult to enforce.”

Snyderville Planning Chairwoman Malena Stevens.

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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