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Local News

Petition amasses 2,000+ signatures opposing Dakota Pacific proposal

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Dakota Pacific Real Estate
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The petition says there has been no "plausible explanation" for how the project would benefit the community.

An online petition circulating in Summit County has gathered over 2,000 signatures from people who don’t want to see the ambitious Dakota Pacific development project go forward.

After years of planning and a negative recommendation from the Summit County Planning Commission last year, the final decision on the fate of the Dakota Pacific project in Kimball Junction is on the horizon.

The project has been in front of the Summit County Council for over a year, and a vote by the council could come before the end of this year. A change.org petition is now urging the council to reject the proposal as it is currently envisioned.

The petition is titled “Say NO to 3,000 new residents and their cars at Kimball Junction.” It argues that no “plausible explanation” has been given by Dakota Pacific for how the project would benefit the community.

In addition to the new residents, the petition goes on to claim the project could add 4,000 more cars on SR 224, which it says is “already a parking lot during the ski season and during most weekends.”

The petition was organized by Snyderville resident Ulrik Binzer, who is also the founder of a short-term rental regulation business called Host Compliance. The business has had past contracts with both Park City and Summit County, but he tells KPCW his interest in the Dakota Pacific project is as a citizen concerned about traffic and the lack of affordable housing, not as a businessman.

“The reason I put out the petition was that I felt that not everyone has the time and flexibility to be able to show up at a public hearing on a Wednesday afternoon," he says. "Most people have jobs and kids and things like that. I wanted to give everyone an opportunity to be heard, even though they may not have the ability to take the day off to show up to these hearings.”

The petition has over 2,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon and Binzer says according to change.org’s data, over 95% of the people who have signed are local.

Salt Lake City-based real estate firm Dakota Pacific bought the 58 acres of land just south of the Kimball Junction Walmart shopping center in 2018 with plans to re-imagine the site once slated to be the Boyer Company’s Tech Park.

Dakota Pacific is asking the county to rezone the land and replace the tech park concept with a mixed-use neighborhood containing 1,100 residential units, commercial and office space, and a hotel spread over 1.7 million square feet.

A representative for Dakota Pacific did not immediately return KPCW’s request for comment, but proponents of the project say it would concentrate development and help conserve open space in other parts of the county. County Councilor Glenn Wright told KPCW last week that the project could also encourage the Utah Department of Transportation to invest in major roadway and traffic improvement projects on SR 224 sooner.

The project is expected to have a public hearing on November 17th. County Development Director Pat Putt says the complexity of the project and its potential implications to the area will make the hearing one of the most important of his career.

“To say that will be an important meeting is almost cliche, stupid for me to say, but it really will be," says Putt. "This project has so many pieces to it and there’s so much energy around it.” 

Binzer says he will be attending the hearing and hopes to speak if he is able to. The county council is under no obligation to act based on a community petition, but Binzer says although he has yet to receive a response from the council, he hopes to have its attention as a final decision approaches.

“I think the key is just to make sure that we have the people of Park City and Snyderville actually having an impact on if this is gonna go forward or not," Binzer says. "It feels a little bit like you have a bunch of people who are making decisions that may not be aligned with the public interest.”

The public will be able to attend the Dakota Pacific hearing on the 17th either in person at the Richins Building in the Snyderville Basin, or over Zoom.

Corrected: November 8, 2021 at 9:28 AM MST
An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the location of the Richins building. It's in the Snyderville Basin.