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Summit County Council Still Working Out Specifics of Neighborhood Mixed-Use Zone

The Summit County Council Wednesday didn’t make a decision on the planned neighborhood mixed-use zone — nor on the master-planned development process, which is closely tied to the new zone.


Councilor Malena Stevens said the county is crafting the language carefully on both, to avoid any unintended consequences.


Of the three citizens who spoke, two were from the area near Canyons Village. They have told the county before they’re concerned that the mixed-use zone might be used to overturn the specially planned area agreement that’s been in effect for the Canyons area for over 20 years.


Michael Bradley said he’s trying to represent 130 like-minded residents in the lower Canyons area. He said the language in the mixed-use zone doesn’t make it clear enough that the zone and the MPD process couldn’t be used unless the Canyons SPA comes to the end of its term. He said developers shouldn’t get the wrong message.


“We sit with 130 people with heightened arousal, every time something comes up, to the point we actually hired an attorney to make sure to keep an eye on things,” he said. “Because this will continue. And it will continue to persist in our community. Despite people saying it’s not appropriate for the Canyons, people will look to develop there. I want the group to kinda think about, you bought a home in a resort community based on a SPA, with the understanding that it would be governed by such, and it truly being a neighborhood, and the fact you could have a three-story building put up right next to your home, because of some of the latitude in what is being put into this new NMU-1 with MPD.”


His neighbor, Bradley Gravline, also said the language should be stronger.


“The language that was proposed to be changed tonight, I don’t think reflects at all that the SPA is the governing document,” he said. “The language change was … ‘Until the SPA terminates or is modified through the MPD process.’ What that suggests to me, as an attorney, is that it could be modified through the MPD process, and then you don’t even worry about the SPA. I still haven’t heard any example of where the SPA did not work in the Canyons base area.”


Malena Stevens told KPCW that the county is still working to get the appropriate language.


“We’re trying to figure out what’s going to work best to both give the flexibility that is needed in other areas but also to ensure that specific people feel comfortable that live within the Canyons and some other areas,” Stevens said.


Another speaker at the hearing, Leslie Masters, was concerned the mixed-use zone would affect a proposed development in another area.


“I just am a little worried that the NMU might be used as a free-for-all in some of the new neighborhoods,” Masters said. “Highland Flats, are they going to suddenly come in and try to NMU rezoning.”


Stevens had this response.


“Within the neighborhood mixed-use zone, there’s previously identified areas, and those are the only areas that would be eligible to apply for rezone to the neighborhood mixed-use zone,” she said. “Just to clarify, that doesn’t mean that those areas will automatically, or have some sort of pre-determination that they will become neighborhood mixed-use zones. But those are the only places that have been identified as appropriate. Highland Flats was not one of those areas.”


The council on Wednesday hammered out other provisions for the mixed-use zone. They said a single retail use in the zone would be at most 50,000 square feet. Stevens said that is responding to some basin areas that desperately need a grocery store.


On another topic, she said they haven’t decided how much affordable housing should be required in an NMU development.


“I know yesterday we played with some numbers such as 50% of the housing within an NMU needs to be affordable,” she said. “We haven’t finalized that yet, but that’s something we’re looking at.”


Stevens added that the Snyderville Planning Commission is working on the overall problem of affordable housing, and what income levels they want to serve.

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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