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Colony Neighborhood Asking Snyderville Planning Commission For Change

Snyderville Basin Planning Commission

At their May 26th meeting, the Snyderville Planning Commissioners were introduced to a proposed amendment for the Colony Development up White Pine Canyon Road.

Snyderville Chairman Ryan Dickey says the additional uses aren’t necessarily objectionable.   But the proposal has to jump over hurdles presented by the Snyderville Code and the original Canyons Resort approval.  

The applicants are the Colony’s developer and its HOA, who want to add density for non-residential development, up to a maximum of 135,000 square feet.

The Colony was approved in conjunction with the Canyons Resort Specially Planned Area about 20 years ago.

Ryan Dickey explained what the new plan is looking at.       

“The Colony maintains private roads and bridges and snow removal and salt.   These are things they used to handle as outside vendors who  drive into the Colony.  They’ve over time brought a lot of that in-house, and are looking for more facilities for the HOA.  So the things I described, expanding the mailhouse—they get 20 times as many packages as they ever envisioned, like we all do.  The second part of the density is looking for density for amenities, so things like clubhouse, swimming pool, tennis courts, a private restaurant.”

Dickey said the proposal would have to follow the requirements in the current Snyderville code for affordable housing.

In addition, the proposal has to deal with Provision 2.3 in the Snyderville Code.    That says the county will not add any new density until existing entitlements in the Basin are built out—unless new development can show it provides a countervailing, compelling benefit to the public.      

“I don’t mean to sound negative about it, because generally the uses are appropriate in the Colony.   There wasn’t any objection to that.  This is just sort of a hurdle in our code that, as we talked through the application with the applicant, we just made sure they were understanding what happens when you open up that Development Agreement.”

Meanwhile, at the Snyderville Planning session, the applicants acknowledged that several of the non-residential amenities seeking approval have already been built out over the years.

The Colony’s application has prompted a respectful debate between the project’s attorney, Ted Barnes, and Deputy County Attorney Jami Brackin.

Barnes told the attendees that some of the existing items, such as a gate house, a sales office and pump house—have been essential for the Colony.     And he said they haven’t added to the residential density of the neighborhood.         

“We already have a lot of these.   They’re allowed on the plats.  The plats were signed.  They were recorded.  Building permits were issued.  Structures have been built and maintained for some number of years up to two decades, without that counting against density or counting as density.”

But Brackin said the Colony is trying to have its cake and eat it too—trying to get approved under both the Canyons SPA approval, and uses allowed in the Snyderville Code.

She said there’s a variety of reasons why the Colony’s non-residential items were built.       

“The gatehouse was approved with the original development because they got a gate approved with the original development, and it was anticipated that the gate would have a gatehouse.  That was specifically approved as part of the ’98 approval.  The sales office was also specifically approved as part of a site plan in the original ’98.  That was a specific temporary use.  It was actually the sales office that was going to be the post office.  I don’t know when the post office got a separate approval, quite frankly, that was news to me.  The salt-storage buildings, and there are two of them, apparently, or three of them—we’ve had prior planning directors that have approved those through Low Impact Permits without actually understanding the Canyons SPA.   And they probably should not have been approved, if I’m being honest.  But they were, and we’ll live with those.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re entitled to more.”

Barnes replied that the items they want are just for residents of the Colony, not the general public.    

“Yes, we are—we do have our cake and we would like a place to eat it.  Vail could do that, and cater us for us and we wouldn’t even have to come before you.  Vail says, ‘We’re happy to let them do it.”  Can we do it on a private basis rather than public basis?  It makes sense to us.  We’re after process, in the general sense of how you’d like us to go.”

Attorney Ted Barnes.

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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