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Snyderville Planning Commission Begins Talks to Regulate Accessory Buildings

Snyderville Basin Planning Commission

The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission just recently started a discussion on how to regulate accessory buildings and accessory dwellings—two concepts that have prompted complaints in the Basin.


Snyderville Planning Chairman Ryan Dickey said they will return to the topic within a few weeks from now.


At the Snyderville Commisison’s most recent meeting, staff planner Ray Milliner presented three concepts for accessory dwellings.


Dickey talked about the first type, which is what’s sometimes called a “granny apartment.”


“So the first one is, just sort of that what you imagine as the old garage, or Basin apartment or a detached coach house,” Dickey said. “This is we’re hoping to regulate well, but incentivize a second dwelling on an existing residential parcel, and that’s with the goal of increasing our affordable housing stock by adding that density in where we already have residential infrastructure, we already have roads and sewer and hopefully transit. We envision that these would all be quite affordable just based on what they are.”


Second is a unit for an employee.


“That is not allowed under the current code. All we actually have today is you can have an Agricultural unit. So I think we have a lower demand for ranch hands than we once had. And this allows any employee to live on a commercial parcel.”


The final concept is what’s called a “live/work dwelling.”


“That’s actually where the owner is sharing the same space as the commercial component. So you maybe have a shop downstairs and I have a little residential unit upstairs.”


Dickey said the worst possible outcome would be if these units are taken up by nightly rentals. The Planning Commission talked about how enforcement can prevent that.


“I don’t think there’s any feeling that we have sufficient enforcement capacity to go out today and enforce a policy like this,” he said. “We need to write enforcement into the code, and then we need to, obviously then, craft enforcement around it. Again, I don’t think we have it today. But we chewed around the idea of, do you write code that’s based on today’s enforcement capacity, and write code that you think isn’t the best you can do. Or do we try to perfect the code, and then figure out, let’s go out and enforce it once we have it. And I think we sorta landed in, let’s write what we want. And then we think we can figure out enforcement when it’s time.”


Next, the Snyderville Planners looked at accessory buildings. The staff proposed two designations. Minoraccessory buildings would be allowed in all zones. As Dickey noted, a Minor Building would be a maximum of 2,000 square feet, and could have a secondary structure of a maximum 500 square feet.


A major accessory building would require a conditional use permit in all zones.


“And then the major accessory building is allowed on a parcel of one acre or more,” Dickey said. “It’s a sliding scale based on how large the lot is. So the idea that larger lots can handle the more intense accessory buildings. So it starts at 2,500 square feet for a major. That’s for a one-acre lot, and goes from there to I think an absolute maximum of 15,000 square feet for a lot of five acres or more.”


In addition, steel shipping containers would be prohibited in all zones.


“That’s been a theme of public comment, that’s been pretty consistent over the last few years, that we’re seeing too many shipping containers. I think we’ve heard that people feel like they are randomly or just strewn about lots. And folks don’t really like the way that looks.”

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.