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Snyderville Basin Planning Commission sends affordable housing plan to county council

The Summit County Council is pursuing an official discussion about imposing a building moratorium in the Snyderville Basin. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
The housing plan is a new requirement for the county that came out of the massive House Bill 462, signed by Gov. Spencer Cox earlier this year.

The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission crafted a “Moderate Income Housing Plan” based on new state requirements. Now it heads to the Summit County Council.

The housing plan requires the county to report to the state what strategies it will use to create affordable housing. In exchange, Summit County will receive state funding for a variety of projects, including transportation.

The housing plan is a new requirement for the county that came out of the massive House Bill 462, signed by Gov. Spencer Cox earlier this year.

To comply, the county has to include at least three strategies from a list of over 20 provided by the Legislature. Six strategies on the state’s list are already a part of the Snyderville Basin General Plan.

The state has said it will award priority funding to counties that implement two extra strategies, or five in total. The housing plan that the planning commission is recommending to the county council includes eight strategies.

Among those that would be new to the county are a way to hold developers accountable for their affordable housing efforts, and showing the state it has a community land trust program, which is the role Mountainlands Community Housing already plays here.

A provision in the state law specifically required Summit County to include a housing and transit reinvestment zone, or HTRZ, in its plan.

An HTRZ requires at least 39 housing units per acre in buildable areas around transit hubs.

Summit County officials have said developer Dakota Pacific targeted the county by lobbying to insert the HTRZ provision into HB 462 so it could move forward with development in the Kimball Junction area.

Last year Dakota Pacific was seeking to build over 1,000 housing units, a hotel, and office space on roughly 58 acres near the Skullcandy building. The developer eventually asked the county to pause its plans after nearly 1,000 residents attended a public hearing in December to oppose the project.

County staff told the commission Tuesday that while having an HTRZ is required, they only have to say they’ll create it, not actually implement it.

Commissioner Chris Conabee said the HTRZ legislation was originally put into play for the western portions of the Salt Lake Valley, where many Utah Transit Authority (UTA) stations lie in isolation.

“I think the state’s just looking for a way out of a huge billions of dollars invested in mass transit, and have people put density near it," Conabee said.

"That does not apply to our county, and I think we’re perfectly comfortable saying we’ve reviewed our county, we have these things that may be coming up in the future, and in the next 10 years we’re gonna look at putting things in these possible locations. I think that’s a good enough answer.”

The planning commission’s recommendation to the council includes a note suggesting the HTRZ element be examined for its legality and future impact.

The county council will now give the plan a final review and hold a public hearing. The plan is due to the state for review by October 1.