Dakota Pacific Critics Assemble During Comment Time At County Council Meeting
The Summit County Council on August 18th unexpectedly heard from a small crowd that turned out to criticize the proposed Dakota Pacific project at Kimball Junction.
They said that while the council is, seemingly, on the verge of approving the massive development, it’s a mistake that will add population, traffic and pollution to the Snyderville Basin.
On August 11, the council held another work session on Dakota Pacific, a large residential/commercial project planned to extend west from the Summit County Library and Kimball Transit Center.
That night, one citizen attended to speak against the plan.
But during the Public Comment segment this Wednesday, eight speakers lined up and urged the council to reject Dakota.
Ultimately, County Attorney Margaret Olson cautioned that it seemed an impromptu public hearing was underway on a pending application without the Dakota developers being present. By that time, though, most of the attendees had spoken anyway.
Afterward, Council Member Malena Stevens told KPCW county officials will review what happened at the meeting.
“Margaret Olson, the County Attorney, did caution us during the Public Comment that the public hearing had been closed, and that it could be construed as a public hearing. We’re waiting some further input and advice from County Attorney Margaret Olson to ensure that we are honoring the process for the community and the applicant. With the process, these projects are very large and very complicated, as I think everyone that has been listening to it over the last few years can attest to. And so we want to make sure that we are going through and honoring that process and so we will be following up with that.”
Several of the critics said they agreed with Council Member Roger Armstrong, who has said Dakota’s proposed 1100 residential units could add 3000 people to the Basin.
The speakers included former County Commissioners Bob Richer and Sally Elliott, who approved the Boyer Tech Park in 2008. It is that development, which was only partially constructed, that is being modified, and replaced, by the Dakota plan.
However, Richer said he isn’t trying to save the Tech Park but is asking the council to negotiate a better development. He said, “We are not anti-anything. We are pro Summit County.”
Sally Elliott asked the council to look to the future.
“We know that the climate is warming. We know that the ski industry is not going to be what it used to be. Our summers are hot. Our winters are warmer and less snowy than they used to be. So I urge you to take a good strong long hard look at this before you just willy-nilly approve a subdivision that’s not really very affordable at all, that will attract 3000-plus additional residents to come to Summit County. We don’t need them. What we need is economic diversity, not more people.”
Bonnie Park said it looks like new versions of Dakota are coming fast, with features like a Public Infrastructure District and financing from the Community Reinvestment Act.
Schuyler Scoggan said the project hasn’t been thought out.
“God forbid there’s another fire situation like the one that we’ve experienced. You’re gonna have 3000 more people to evacuate, and find a place for them to be evacuated. I worry that Park City is gonna become another Boulder or another beautiful place that is totally overwhelmed by a population that it can’t support. It doesn’t bode well for our water system as well, and for the environment. It’s gonna be an eyesore as soon as we come here, No 1, but No. 2, it’s just a lot more cars where the traffic problem hasn’t even begin to be addressed in my humble opinion, the past few years. And it’s not like a lot of these houses are gonna be bringing people who are gonna be taking a lot of public transit. They’ll most likely have their own cars, especially the non-affordable houses”
And Kathy Mears said if the council goes ahead with an approval, they have “busted my trust” as she put it.
“I’m pretty sure that none of you ran on a pro-growth platform, because I wouldn’t have voted for you if you did. But I think that considering that, I mean it feels like this is a done deal. So in a sense I feel like I’m just spouting. But I feel like this is so pro-growth it’s astonishing to me. And I have to ask myself the question, why. What’s going on that we cannot figure out here?”
Basin resident Kathy Mears.
Malena Stevens said the council is looking into scheduling another public hearing, but no date has been set on the calendar.