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Proposed Snyderville Mixed-Use Zone Could Require Half of Housing Units to be Affordable

Summit County

The Summit County Council on Wednesday continued to discuss the proposed neighborhood mixed-use zone. A major topic there was the amount and the type of affordable housing.


A requirement in Snyderville Basin Code has stated that new development must supply 20% of its residential units as affordable housing. 


But for the new mixed-use zone, the council has discussed increasing that to 50%. Councilor Glenn Wright told KPCW that he’s heard both the pros and cons about that standard.


“We heard from one resident, who I think has development background, who thought the 50% might be too high,” he said. “On the other hand, I have regular communications with Mountainlands Community Housing Trust. When I’ve mentioned to them in the last couple of days that we were contemplating this, they thought that the nexus study that they received a few years ago really would support this particular percentage.”


He said the council probably supports the 50% figure. But Wright said the conversation was more focused on related issues about housing.


“What really is our market for affordable housing and how do we create the right mix, both of types of units and the distribution of units available for people at various income levels,” he said.


Summit County Senior Planner Peter Barnes detailed what kind of housing could result from the 50% standard.


“One of the problems you have is that you’re just talking about a percentage of the total number of units. The easiest way to deal with that is to say, I’m going to give you 100 one-bedroom units, of which 50% will be affordable. I’m going to give you more units. I’m just going to make them smaller, so I can afford to build them and I can afford to sell them at a reduced price. It might not be providing you with the housing mix that you need. If you need two and three and four-bedroom units, then what this tends to do is create very high-end expensive condos to make a profit and some very low-priced single-room and studio units to make up the numbers.”


Council Members discussed if they want to wait on approving the mixed-use zone until the county has revamped the general plan chapter on affordable housing. Wright said they haven’t come to a conclusion on that.


“I believe we will move forward on it eventually,” he said. “Whether we want to wait until we get the Chapter Five revisions in the general plan—or another option is we could settle on generally what we want to do with the NMU, pass it with an implementation date when we pass the Chapter Five modifications, which I understand we will probably see from the planning commission sometime this summer.”

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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