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Summit County Councilor Glenn Wright Weighs In on Neighborhood Mixed-Use Zoning

A public hearing hosted by the Summit County Council on Wednesday brought out concerns and criticisms of the proposed neighborhood mixed-use zone. Councilor Glenn Wright says the zone could help the county get a little better control of growth that is inevitably coming.


Wright said the council got a lot of good feedback on Wednesday. He boiled down the sentiments to a fear of growth.


“Does this NMU process encourage growth,” he said. “I don’t see it that way. Bottom line is we can’t stop growth. Growth is coming. We have four to five million square feet of entitled construction that’s going to go on in the Snyderville Basin. I don’t have a real good number for the East Side of the county, but it’s actually several times that, that’s entitled over on the East Side.”


Wright did say the new zone could be tweaked in three or four areas. First, he said, is sustainability.


“Number one, new construction should be net zero construction, or net zero-ready construction,” he said. “And what that means is that the buildings, when they’re completed, will have a zero-carbon footprint now, because of the efficient construction and use of renewable energy. Or in the future, when renewable energy is purchased, as we have plans for 100% renewable energy coming in from Rocky Mountain Power, we would also make that a mandatory future requirement for the building owner.”


Wright also said some ideas about how water use should change.


“Irrigating grass in our climate is a ridiculous waste of water,” he said. “Like to put some provisions in there that the only time we would be using irrigation water on any of these construction projects was if a park or a ball field was being created. But decorative grass around the perimeters of buildings and sidewalks—we need to be xeriscaping that land.”


Concerning affordable housing, he said that the units built in an NMU project should be compatible with the price range of people who would work there.


“Create better-paying jobs,” he said. “I think the (Park City Tech Center) tried to do that, but so far has been unsuccessful. And it was really focused on high-tech jobs. I don’t think that’s absolutely necessary, but we do need to diversify our economy and bring in some better-paying jobs. So I think we can try to put some requirements that the types of businesses that are recruited into these business parks are higher-paying jobs.”


The proposal for neighborhood mixed-use development calls for it to be built along transit routes. But Wright said the county needs to go further on transportation.


“We have existing problems with transportation in terms of our road structure, the interchanges on our highways.”


The council has deferred the zone for further discussion at its Sept. 9 meeting.

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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