After a lengthy discussion on Wednesday, Summit County Council members are still deliberating the issue over an appeal of the Commons at Newpark development.
The developers from the Crandall family have proposed a four-story seven-townhome project near the Newpark amphitheater, which appellants claim the proposal doesn’t conform with Town Center principles.
Council member Roger Armstrong said a decision can be difficult when the issue is based on a particular Development Agreement, not a zone. He said they’re looking for more information and analysis.
“I think one of their arguments was that because this particular parcel is on Redstone Blvd., which is now called Main Street, that there are certain restrictions that are associated with properties that are on Main Street. We had a very substantial packet. I think we had 1,200 or 1,400 hundred pages that we had to get through, much of it was this particular appeal.” Armstrong continued, “For most of us, we did not have the opportunity to do as deep as a dive into the development agreement and the design standards that are applicable to the Newpark area. So, when somebody is telling us that something says something we just would like to have some back-up and clarity as to what they happen to be referring to. I think we each want to do our own review of the documents ourselves.”
While some developments might attract criticism, Armstrong said that Utah law is pretty firmly on the side of an applicant.
“Utah state law says essentially that if a land owner wants to do something on their property--unless there is a specific prohibition against it and it’s got to be plain language that prohibits it—you’re kind of obligated to go along with it. We’re stuck with that. That was codified by Utah state law last year at the end of the legislative session. We’re in a position where whenever we’re looking at these kind of issues—I think this is one because of where it’s located. It’s next to the plaza in Newpark it’s right adjacent to the amphitheater—you do get that kind of public outcry and input on those kinds of things.”
He said the council might also take a field trip to the Newpark area.
“There are arguments about how this fits into the overall themes of that town center to the vision of that town center and how it should work. Just based on arguments that were made I think it’s useful for us to travel as a group, both the appellants and the developer and the county manager. Just see what it looks like on the ground as we make the decision.”
Meanwhile the council this week wrapped up one long-pending item. They approved a bond resolution to enable the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation to pay for improvements at the Utah Olympic Park and the Kearns Speed Skating Oval.
“The delay I think was on the Legacy Foundation side. They were trying to get some terms worked out with the ultimate financier of the project. Initially, I think the bond was going to be secured by revenues and now it’s going to be secured by real estate that the Legacy Foundation owns. This is kind of a no-brainer for us it’s under the Utah Facilities Act. It allows counties to essentially function as a pass-through bonding entity for these kinds of facilities. The county’s credit is not at risk, the county has absolutely no responsibility for any kind of repayment of the bond. (If they defaulted) I suspect the bond holder would take over the real estate. I think the county is just a pass-through entity.”