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Summit County Council Begins Deep Dive Into Dakota Pacific Project

Members of the Summit County Council Wednesday took their first deep dive into the Dakota Pacific development planned for Kimball Junction.   Council Members had some initial thoughts about items such as affordable housing, traffic and benefits to the community.

Dakota Pacific bought the 58-acre site in 2018, about a decade after the Boyer Company’s Research Park was approved there.   

The new proposal is for nearly 1.3 million square feet and 1100 units of residential.

Among the comments, Council Member Glenn Wright said he likes the new mixed-use plan, but he needs to look into the details.  

As part of that, they have to examine how they can work with the state to bring traffic improvements to Kimball Junction.       

“I think it’s important that we have coordination with UDOT.  And I think we have to get beyond this point where we’re just hoping that UDOT does something.   And we jointly put in a full-court press with UDOT.  If this project is going to be built, it has to be built in coordination with a significant UDOT project in the Kimball Junction area.”

In addition, the developers announced that in the second iteration of their plan, they had dropped a transit-center improvement, since it was to be located on county property.    Wright said he hopes they will bring that back.

Kim Carson said they need a compelling reason to say Yes to the proposal.       

“And I don’t see—I mean, at first glance, I haven’t seen anything that says to me, “Wow, this really solves a problem.”   I do see that we’re getting some more affordable housing.   I really appreciate the 80 to 120 AMI.  I think we need a lot more of that.   There’s a lot of people that feel like we’re losing our sense of community because those that are critical to the way we live day to day can’t afford to live here.  And that’s not necessarily because of the lack of affordable housing.   It’s the lack of any type of attainable housing.   So personally I’d like to see those numbers increase.”

And Doug Clyde said they need to look back at the Boyer approval. 

It’s rather stunning, he said, that the original OK didn’t establish the density of the entitlement.     They just went by the bulk, mass and setbacks of the plan to determine what could be built.    Clyde asked, how did they decide on the amount of employee housing?

“We’ve got to understand exactly what happened there, exactly how the calculations were made, what happened to the employee housing.  Was it part of the bulk and mass?   If it wasn’t part of the bulk and mass, I think it needs to come out.   Because if you’re limited by bulk and mass, if you’re limited by “land capability”, you don’t get to take your land capability and add 20 or 30 percent to it.  You’re limited to that.  Unfortunately, this is digging back into the records and to which we don’t have a lot of detail, but we’re gonna need to see it all.  Because every time that somebody asks me, “Why did you allow this to happen?” I need to be firmly grounded in the fact that it was a matter of right, not a matter of discretion.”

Summit County Council Member Doug Clyde.

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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