The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission had another look at the plans for the Kimball Junction property that was slated to be a Tech Park – but is now being considered for a development that would add more than a half million square feet and a thousand more residences than originally approved.
The planning commission is reviewing the development application in bite size pieces between now and early next year. At its most recent meeting, planning commissioners looked at the scale and massing of the project.
The applicant, Dakota Pacific, is proposing a mixed use development which includes offices, commercial and residential development , as well as a hotel, a gondola to the Utah Olympic Park, a transit center and underground parking. It also proposes building heights up to six stories. While that height is not allowed under the current zoning, Planning Commissioner Crystal Simons says the height could certainly be allowed under a mixed use overlay.
“The height limits are restricted by what existing code would have, but with the addition of the new mixed use zone that the planning commission has recommended to county council for approval,” Simons explained, “there is some wiggle room with regard to height if applicants and projects do certain things, like underground parking, etc. Specifically, relating to this project, the height limit that the applicant is proposing are not currently approved and there would be a lot of further review and understanding of specific parcels, specific buildings and specific uses to enable something that they’re proposing.”
While some of the planning commission thinks those building heights could be a major issue, Simons, as she put it, thinks the ambition is interesting
“You know, I think actually, folks are used to seeing stories up to six heights – we see them in the Canyons for example, they are allowed uses there,” she said. “There are places in our community that higher heights might make more sense. Again, I think it’s super important to consider context and the urban or suburban fabric that surrounds these types of development.”
Summit County Economic Development Director Jeff Jones made a presentation to the planning commission on what housing is available , giving the planning commission a sense of what the area’s demographics are and what the demand for housing might be.
“We all like the rural character of our community - we live in the mountains for a reason,” Simons said. “That said, Park City is growing and we’re a dynamic community and we want to encourage growth. But if we have, looking at Mr. Jones’ presentation, we have a trend – where the community is both aging and we have fewer young people and specifically fewer middle aged working class folks coming in and a lot of that looks like it’s because of the cost of housing. So, to afford the ability to build good quality, desirable housing in our community, we not only have to look at where that might happen –and make the most sense - what’s left – then also how can we afford it - how can we work with developers to make sure we can get that type of housing that doesn’t compromise our other community values.”
When asked if the proposed plan will meet code provision 2.3 which requires that an applicant show a compelling, countervailing public interest to justify approval of increased density, Simons says they’re not at that point yet.
“We have a lot to look at,” she said. “We need to consider the amount of density that’s already approved on the property. This applicant is in this proposal pitching a very long-term phased ambitious vision. I think if folks look at the power point, there’s a lot of really interesting civic spaces, there’s a gondola that could potentially take folks up to the Olympic Park, there’s a transit center that would be state of the art and they’re really thinking of this parcel because it is at the gateway of the entrance to our community fight at Kimball Junction.”
The planning commission’s discussion of the future of the Tech Park will continue over the next few months. The next planning commission discussion is set for December 10th.