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Dakota Pacific project moving off the back burner

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Courtesy of Dakota Pacific Real Estate
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An aerial view of the proposed Dakota Pacific project site that was put on pause in late 2021.

Summit County has received a traffic impact study from developer Dakota Pacific, who wants to build hundreds of housing units in Kimball Junction.

Dakota Pacific has been working on a follow up for its proposed high-density housing development in Kimball Junction.

Summit County Development Director Pat Putt told KPCW Friday that the county’s planning, transportation, engineering, and public works departments will now analyze the study Dakota Pacific provided.

After that, it will be reviewed by an independent third party.

“I do not anticipate here in the next couple weeks there’s going to be a meeting on Dakota Pacific," Putt said. "But there will be probably a fairly intense in-house staff review of that, and then we’re going to have to go and begin the process of selecting who we’re going to bring in to do that independent third-party review.”

Once that review is complete, the project could move to the county council, which is the final land use authority.

Dakota Pacific’s initial proposal called for 1,100 housing units, a hotel, and office space on roughly 58 acres near the Skullcandy building.

Nearly 1,000 people attended a December public hearing either virtually or in-person where there was strong opposition to adding density to that area. Following that hearing Dakota Pacific asked to put its application on hold in order to revise its proposal.

A couple of months after that, the Utah Legislature passed HB 462, requiring the county to submit plans for a housing and transit reinvestment zone, or HTRZ, by the end of 2022. An HTRZ requires at least 39 housing units per acre in certain areas centered around transit hubs.

County officials have said Dakota Pacific targeted Summit County by lobbying to insert that provision into the legislation. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox alluded to the state’s involvement in the Kimball Junction development earlier this year, saying he wants more residents to support denser growth amid the state’s housing crisis.

Putt said Friday the county has yet to receive a formal project application for what they’re calling “plan B.”

HB 462 also requires the county to choose three moderate-income housing strategies from a list provided by the Legislature, and propose ways to implement them locally. Those could include changing parking requirements for some residential development and amending land use rules to allow denser housing.

That must be done by Oct. 1. The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission is going through that process now.

Putt said the county could choose not to implement the HTRZ.

“The proposal would be, if we decide - the commission recommends and the council ultimately decides to include an HTRZ and the plan - which again, at the end of the day they may choose not to," he said. "But I don’t know if that’s necessarily the decision. What we would be submitting to the state would be our proposed path forward, which would be a multiyear path forward.”

The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission will hold a public hearing for the moderate-income housing plan and its HTRZ proposal at its meeting Tuesday. Putt said the public plays a key role and recommends people express their thoughts on the plan.

“We’re not anticipating action on that or recommendation, but I think it’s important for the public to help us begin to track that and provide feedback.”

The Tuesday virtual meeting will begin at 6 p.m. A Zoom link can be found here.

Parker Malatesta covers Park City for KPCW. Before coming to NPR, he spent one year as a general assignment reporter for TownLift in Park City. He previously was the news editor at The News Record, the student paper at the University of Cincinnati. He loves running, reading, and urban planning.