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A wave of growth is headed to Summit County's east side


It’s never been a question of whether growth would spill over to parts of Summit County outside the Snyderville Basin – it was only a matter of when. And it appears that ‘when’ is here. The Summit County Council recently met with the East Side Planning Commission to discuss growth.

The joint meeting lasted nearly 1.5 hours and encompassed projects across the east side of Summit County, including Wohali, and Cedar Crest in North Summit and the selling off of hundreds of acres of farmland in South Summit.

During the meeting, Summit County Council member Doug Clyde said while no growth is what he wants, it’s impractical.

“And we know that there are just tremendous development rights that have been scattered around this county, unfortunately,” Clyde said. “Because we haven't had the courage to zone them down to, to farmland capability. But regardless, we're going to have to deal with that.”

What’s required said council member Roger Armstrong is an east side master plan.

“Having the municipalities take a look at their annexation areas, take a look at their existing build out and starting to actually do some of this kind of work, to visualize where they're going to grow, how they're going to grow and engage with us and that process,” Armstrong said. “As we take a look at the unincorporated county, and how it's growing so that we don't do things that step on the toes of where density should be.”

Speaking to KPCW Thursday, Armstrong added that a wave of growth is coming.

“We know growth is coming because we're seeing ranches being put up for sale,” Armstrong said. “We saw the Ure Ranch that went on the market and had a buyer that entered into a contract, and almost immediately went to Kamas and Francis and said, we're looking to build 1600 homes, essentially at the base of 248, right , as it comes in that downhill section into the Kamas Valley.”

And while he always expected the growth would happen first in South Summit, he says it’s happening across all of eastern Summit County.

“Some of that is we've got a lot of generational landowners that are faced with a number of challenges,” Armstrong said. “Agriculture is becoming more and more challenging. Water is probably going to make that even more challenging. Generationally, their children, our children and grandchildren are making different choices than prior generations in terms of taking over the agricultural operations.”

He added that when you’re a rancher sitting on a few hundred acres of property, worth millions of dollars and prime for growth, sometimes the choice of what to do with the property is easy.