Harmons developer says new store would benefit community
Representatives of the grocery store chain say the new store will include new trails and parks.
The owners of the Outlets Park City are moving ahead with their plans to bring in a new Harmons grocery store. They appeared before the Synderville Planning Commission last Tuesday during a work session to address how the new, 72,000 square foot store would benefit the community by adding amenities like new trails, pocket parks, and potentially affordable housing.
When Synderville Planning Commissioner Joel Fine asked why the area needs a new grocery store, Justin Keys, an attorney who represents owner and applicant SRE Ontario, said it would boost competition.
“There’s a synergy in having grocery stores near each other. It’s no different than a McDonalds always coming in across the street from a Burger King,” said Keys. “They don’t always have the same products, there’s different lines and there’s a synergy in having it at that location there where people can come in. That’s actually very, very consistent with your code. If you look at your code, the location where grocery stores are encouraged and specifically called out as ‘this is the right location for a grocery store’ is the town center zone.”
Keys said a sky bridge connecting trails from above the proposed development to the lower level of the outlets would be a pleasing design element.
“There’s like these gravel goat paths that wrap around the top. We walked them, and it was surprising the amount of people that do walk those,” said Keys. “But I think that the solution we came up with, including the sky bridge that will come from the back side of Harmon’s and wrap down to the lower section, will be just a huge value add in terms of pedestrian accessibility to that site. The term Amir (Amir Caus, Summit County planner) used that I really liked was that, you know, that could become an iconic feature of what this development is.”
Commissioners asked about impacts the new store would have on area traffic. Keys conceded the new store could bring more traffic than what’s currently in place, but possibly less traffic than if the area was redeveloped to include several restaurants, which Keys said is allowed under the code. Commissioner Chris Connabee added that more grocery stores near homes could lessen traffic.
Commissioner Thomas Cooke questioned whether the designers of the project had created enough safe travel and parking space for e-bikes, especially the larger cargo bikes that people use for carting around children and groceries.
“The statement that once you get into the project, you’re in a car zone, that actually was my biggest fear, that we’re still looking at an auto-dominated development rather than providing incentive and reason for people to get out of cars, and part of that incentive is a safe environment when you’re within a project,” said Cooke.
The plan’s architect said the trails within the project were for pedestrians, and pedal bikes, but not e-bikes, though there are more commuter trails on the south side of the project. Keys, Harmons’ attorney, was quick to add that even e-bike travelers would still benefit from their proposed trail design.
“You’ll notice that all of our trails, when you come into the community, land at a park. They dump into a green space, and in one instance it’s a green space where you also have the transit stop that we’re proposing,” said Keys. “That’s where we’re going to have adequate bike parking, a lot of bike parking right there. But the notion is, that when you come in, if you do want to disembark, it’s not that you’re then having a less positive experience than a car, you’re actually having a very positive experience. You pull into a park setting. You park and you’re adjacent to the Harmons, or you’re adjacent to the, you know if you’re in a pocket park, adjacent to all the shopping right there, and you can easily get on the pedestrian paths. From there you’d never have to cross a parking lot.”
As for affordable housing, Keys noted the owner has no obligation to build workforce housing but is proposing to construct 26 affordable units on the property.
The new Harmons store is expected to have 75 full-time and 70 part-time employees.
The project is expected to come before the Synderville Planning Commission again at a later date.