Summit County Council, Snyderville Commission Consider Big Issues For Basin

Oct 12, 2020

On October 7th, the Summit County Council held one of its periodic joint sessions with the Snyderville Planning Commission.     Both groups are trying to put their fingers on global issues to address in the Basin.

County Council Member Roger Armstrong told KPCW that one nagging issue involves accessory buildings.    In the Silver Creek area, large accessory structures have drawn criticism.   In neighborhoods like Old Ranch Road, there’s flak because some parcels are loaded with small buildings.      

“Those buildings, every time we put another pad of concrete down, or another foundation, and build a house on it with rooftops, it affects the environment in a number of ways, from electricity usage to water usage to interfering with the ability of water to re-generate through the natural hydrology process, and then run off into our streams.”

He added that the code about accessory buildings in the Basin reflects a time when agricultural activity was a stronger presence.

Another topic at the meeting was the Snyderville Code’s Section 2.3, which says the county won’t approve a new entitlement unless the project offers a compelling benefit or serves the community’s interest.

Armstrong said developers have generally tried to satisfy that by offering affordable housing.        

“Part of the evaluation of that has to be whether it’s net gain or a net loss.  But we also have to determine whether we need to put some more stakes in the ground around that 2.3 exception.   And I think that was a pretty good part of the conversation.   It really is up to them to be that initial gatekeeper on whether or not something really does advance a solution for something for a problem that’s confronting the community, such that we should create an exception to 2.3.  But it’s not meant to be just a completely wide-open door for somebody to come in with a couple of extra units of affordable housing and get an exception.”

On a related item, the Council  appointed local resident Bruce Carmichael to replace departing  Planning Commissioner Canice Harte.

“He struck us as the right balance.  He’s a very, very smart guy.  And he had some good answers about his approach and how he would look at some of the issues around the Snyderville Basin.”

They chose Carmichael from a field of six applicants.     Armstrong said all of them were capable, and they could re-apply, since one or maybe two more vacancies are coming up on the Snyderville Commissiomn.

Panel member Malena Stevens is running for a County Council seat in November.    With no other opponents filed, it seems certain  she will take office in January.   

In addition, Planning Commisisoner Thomas Cooke is running as a write-in candidate for the Park City School Board.    Armstrong said he isn’t certain if Cooke can serve on the Snyderville Commission, and the School Board at the same time, so he might have to resign as a Planning Commissioner if he won the other position.