During Virtual Open House, Dakota Developers Talk Transit, Worker Housing, More

Jun 18, 2020

Dakota Pacific's proposed development proposal
Credit Dakota Pacific Real Estate

Developers for the proposed Dakota Pacific mixed-use neighborhood at Kimball Junction hosted their second online Open House in recent weeks.

During the session on June 16th, they responded to questions about their workforce housing, impacts on traffic, and other items.

The Dakota plan is going to a public hearing next week before the Snyderville Planning Commission.

The Director of Development for Dakota, Jeff Gochnour, said the project is located on 60 acres.   The land was approved for the Boyer Tech Park in 2008.

Dakota bought it in 2018.   Their proposed density of 1.3 million square feet is the same as the Tech Park approval.

Gochnour said the project will include 1100 residential units.  Of those 1020 will be rentals.   And those include 306 affordable or attainable units.       

“So those people that earn between 30 percent of the Area Median Income, up to 120 percent area Median Income.  Our obligation by code is to provide 256 workforce housing units.  So those fall within the 30 percent and 80 percent AMI.   And then we have 50 units that we threw in effectively as a bonus that are 100 percent AMI, half of them, 25, 100 percent AMI and 25, 120 percent AMI—which you might say, well, that’s effectively market.   But it does have a deed restriction on them.  So if the market was to go way, way above what it is, there’s a limitation to how much rents can increase in these units over time.”

He was asked if the workforce units they supply won’t just be taken up by Dakota’s own employee force.    Gochnour said no, tallying that their hotel would require eight employee units, their retail about the same and office uses would need some 62 units.

He said in filling the workforce units, they will give a priority to those who live or work in Summit County.

He added that the build-out of the residential units will take, at best, about five years.   It will likely be five to ten years.

Asked about traffic impacts, Gochnour said their analysis shows that they will generate less congestion than Boyer’s previous office park use, especially looking at peak hours.       

“Their traffic was all generated at peak, so in the morning rush hour and the evening rush hour, that’s when the transportation was occurring.  With our project being a mix of uses, where people will be living there, and if they work in Park City or the Canyons, it’s likely that they would, rather than hop in their car, they would take a bus there.   Also, if it’s a family with someone who’s at home taking care of the children, their trips will be spread out throughout the day, not as peak hour necessarily.  So if they’ve got to go to a dance class or a music recital, those’ll be spread throughout the day rather than at peak.  So generation of our project versus the existing project is a 40 percent reduction in peak hour traffic.”

Dakota’s traffic consultant, Jim Charlier, said there will be growth in Summit County.    But this is the kind of project that can minimize traffic.       

“Because it’s adjacent to a transit center that we think will become a major regional transit mode down the road and that we’re gonna work to help to make that happen.   It’s a mixed-use project, so that we’re able to get some benefit from people being able to walk some places, that previously they had to drive.  It will enable people who now live down in the valley and have jobs up in Summit County to come up here and live.   And that will reduce driving on regional roadways and on roads in Summit County.  There is no place in Summit County where you could put or spread 1100 dwelling units that would generate less traffic than this location.”

Another question was about Dakota’s previous plan, which included a gondola and a transit center with an underground bus garage.

Charlier said they’re still interested in those concepts.   But right now, Summit County and UDOT are underway with a study for Kimball Junction and the Highway 224 corridor.       

“The county felt that, given the timing of that state DOT project, that for us to show specific details at this point in time of things that might happen over a 10-to-15 time frame would put the county in a position of having to make decisions about a project that assumed some contingencies that were pretty hard to predict.   And so what we’re showing instead is the same plan with some of those elements removed, but the corridors and the footprints preserved.  So that everything we showed earlier can still happen.  Our goal is not to preclude any of that cause that’s still our vision.  But we needed to not show something that was  more ambitious than anybody knew for sure could happen.”

On another topic, Gochnour said the open space within their project is 41 acres, compared to 26 acres in the old Boyer plan.   He said that means there will be fewer cars parking on the surface.

There is also 1000 acres of land to the south of their land.   He was asked if that is protected Open Space.       

“Yes, the land to the south and to the west is preserved Open Space.   And I would assume it’s permanently preserved because it’s owned by the county.  So it remains Open Space and we’re not encroaching on that in any way.”

Jeff Gochnour, for Dakota Pacific.    A couple of callers asked about senior housing, and he said they would be glad to discuss that.

He said they hope the approval process will be completed this year.   And perhaps they could start construction in the summer and fall of 2021.