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On Dakota Pacific, Summit County Council Members Seek A Direction Out Of Limbo

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Malena Stevens
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For this week’s meeting with the Summit County Council, the applicants for the Dakota Pacific project at Kimball Junction went back to an earlier version of their plan.

Meanwhile, Council Member Glenn Wright said they need to find a better way to process the proposal.

Council Member Malena Stevens says they need to find a clear path forward, after the proposal has spent the last couple of years in limbo.   

The Council had a lenthy discussion at their February 24th meeting.  

Stevens told KPCW that the applicants went back to a version of the plan that incorporated county property, such as the current location for the Kimball Transit Center and the Sheldon Richins Building.         

“So at this point, Dakota Pacific had gone back to the original proposal that they had brought to the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission, well over a year ago, that included some elements that would require a land swap, would have more public benefits, such as a new public facility within the center, more walkability, transit center, and some other components.”    

She said the concept presented on the 24th was new for most of the Council Members and they had several questions.

But Stevens had seen it in late 2019, when she sat on the Snyderville Planning Commission.    And she said it is a better layout.   

“Part of the reason for that is there were a lot more benefits to that, to the county.   They had a traffic center that could potentially be incorporated, more of a gateway to the Snyderville Basin, public facilities, gathering spaces were increased.  And so I’m in favor of anything that’s going to create more public benefit and create more vibrancy.”

However, she said this concept stalled before the Snyderville Commisison, which didn’t have the authority to engage in land swaps.    Stevens said the county staff encouraged Dakota to change the plan.

Toward the end of the Wednesday session, Council Member Glenn Wright said the process is getting “clunky”.    He proposed that a sub-committee, made up of colleagues Doug Clyde and Chris Robinson meet with the staff and the developers and shape a plan.

Clyde and Robinson said they could entertain the idea.   But it was strongly opposed by Council Member Roger Armstrong.   And Stevens said she agreed with him.

“I’m gonna agree with Roger.   Having an entire sub-committee that is going to determine what direction we’re going is likely gonna create more problems as there are five members of the commission—three other people that would need to sign off and agree with that direction.”

She said that, for the sake of the developers and the public, they need to clearly define what will become of the project.     

“The fact that we’re back at the beginning of this project, the initial iteration, I think is frustrating, I would suspect on all parts, having been involved in this process personally for over a year and a half.  I would really like to see some clear direction and some clear constructive process made possible for the applicant to know what is realistically going to be approved, or the likelihood of that, and also for the public to be able to have some clear sense of what’s really going to be put there.”

She said she agreed with Clyde, who said that Dakota Pacific isn’t going to solve global issues like affordable housing.       

“But we’re working to get to a place where it doesn’t create harm, and that it does provide some increased service in those aspects.”

In a similar fashion, she said that Kimball Junction has traffic dilemmas.    But those will exist whether they approve Dakota Pacific or not.       

“We’re working on that, and seeing if there’s some sort of way that Dakota Pacific could also aid with that, also recognizing as a developer, it’s not their responsibility to entirely solve that problem, which is why it’s going to take a collaboration between them and the county and UDOT, potentially other partners, to deal with that traffic issue and those intersections.”

County Council Member Malena Stevens, who said the Council decided they will add some special meetings to their schedule to discuss Dakota Pacific, with the entire Council on hand.

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