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Summit County

Snyderville Planning Commission Hears From Public About Soccer Arena

Summit County

The Snyderville Planning Commission Tuesday night did not make a decision about a proposal to allow a soccer arena and some other uses on a lot in Silver Creek.

However, a public hearing brought out about a dozen neighbors with concerns.

The applicant owns a parcel at 532 Westwood Road, and is asking for a building, of a little over 14,000 square feet, which would have a large soccer arena, some other space for pool or ping-pong, an apartment or living area, and a warm-up or storage space.

The project planner, Bill Van Sickle, said it’s not meant to be a facility for the general public or commercial use. The parcel already has a single-family home, a barn and an outdoor riding area.

The owner, Matthew Gilmour, said his family is very private and they certainly don’t want to invite every Tom, Dick and Harry to the property.

“The main reason I’m building the property is for my mother. She’s been a widow for 10 years, its about time someone looked after her she was left with five kids. I’m not going to have this as a commercial building not in my wildest dreams. Because my mother is going to live in the guest apartment and the last thing that we want is 10-20 soccer teams using the facility. That’s not our intention whatsoever we haven’t built it with that intention. It’s not a full-size soccer field its just a small soccer facility mainly for my mum’s grandkids and for my kids and I’ll use it occasionally. I’m from Scotland, soccer is just what we do back home. It’s kind of a dream coming over to America and being able to build something like this.”

The applicants said the design would mimic a barn. They said the outside lighting would stay within dark-sky standards.

Still, several neighbors said they would be living next to a large building that is out of character with the neighborhood. One of those was Anne Kari Hunt.

“14,000 square feet is a lot larger than the average building in this neighborhood. When you look at the drawing it dwarfs the main house and it dwarfs most of the buildings surrounded by it in this neighborhood. I think at this size it looks out of place in the neighborhood. I totally believe the owner of this property that they’re not going to use it for commercial purpose. I would like to echo just a concern of the last speaker that if the property ever changes hands there is that risk.”

Hunt suggested the county look for ways to mitigate the scale of the building. Other speakers, such as Mindy Holbrook, said the area is a significant gathering and migrating corridor for elk.

“I know that things change but I didn’t move to Silver Creek to see big gigantic building. I moved there to have the open space for horses or whatever the elk. As Anne Kari said I can attest that we do have migration through there. I’ve counted over 100 elk in our property so that is a concern is what impact does this have on the wildlife.”

Some of the speakers said Silver Creek has a long history of facilities where the use mushroomed out of control or turned commercial. Glen Colvin said the county needs to address the area.

“The planning has gotten out of control. People are putting in these buildings, they’re essentially creating private resorts and if that’s what you want to do you’re going to wreck the neighborhood. I feel that when I read the staff report about providing mitigations or contingencies for exceptions to mitigate problems. I really don’t think that’s a viable solution, that’s like putting up a speed limit sign and not having any police officers. As I understand it there’s only one code enforcement agent for all of Summit County. The code violations in Silver Creek alone could keep somebody busy. I used to be on the board of Silver Creek I know a lot of the problems that are up there. We couldn’t even get code enforcers up there for engineering problems.”  

The Snyderville Commissioners asked the applicant to meet further with the staff on a number of issues. Planning Commissioner John Kucera, for instance, asked the owner to address the building’s size, its use, the location (some residents suggested placing it more behind the existing barn) and its compatibility with the neighborhood.

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