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Summit County community planning lab applications due Aug. 15

The program is free, and applications are due Tuesday, Aug. 15 at 5 p.m. Planners anticipate capping the program at around 30 people again this year.

The second-ever Summit County community planning lab will run for 11 weeks beginning Sept. 11.

County planning and zoning officials put on the 11-week course for Summit County residents to learn about the planning, policymaking, zoning and other topics related to development.

The first-ever lab happened from January to April of this year. Now, the county is fielding applications for the second lab in September.

Topics include:

  • Urban design principles
  • The what, where, how and why of affordable housing
  • Sustainable development and open space preservation
  • Transportation and finance

The course covers the history of policy and development in Summit County, as well as the area’s present issues and future possibilities.
County planner Madlyn McDonough says it’s for everyone: citizens and elected officials alike. Participants develop and present a final project on the 11th and final week of the program.

“The projects that we saw students develop are also really interesting,” McDonough said. “We had everything from explaining the need for a regional housing authority to, ‘I think it would be a great idea to add a trail connection here so that it's safer for people crossing the streets.’”

She said about 37 people applied for 30 spots. Kamas resident Denise Hodges was one of those participants, and she said it was eye-opening.

“I think it's a way for citizens to get involved and understand the process of city planning because I would say probably 90% of us don’t even know how city planning happens, much less how it happens in Summit County,” she said.

Kamas City Councilmember and Eastern Summit County Planning Commissioner David Darcey, another alum, said he especially liked the historical aspect of the course.

“It should be a required course for anybody that is working for either the county or for the different municipalities in planning,” Darcey said. “Especially the different municipalities over here on the east side that don't have the resources to have a full-fledged planning department.”

Hodges said she’s told all of her friends about the lab and sent them the link to apply.

“I went into this class with the NIMBYism—not in my backyard, don't build it, I don't want to see it, the reason I moved here is because I wanted to be rural—all of the things,” she said. “But then after you go through that planning and the curriculum of the history of the planning, then you start to see how things can go bad and how you need to stay in front of the development, because the development is going to come either way.”

The next planning lab will meet Monday nights starting Sept. 11 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Darcey said the meetings are held at different locations around the county. He estimated the time commitment is about 5 hours per week because participants have homework, too.

The program is free, and applications are due Tuesday, Aug. 15 at 5 p.m. Planners anticipate capping the program at around 30 people again this year.

Click here to apply or learn more.

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