Summit Community Planning Lab presents final class projects
Members of the second cohort of the Summit County Community Planning Lab presented their projects to the public last week.
The Summit County Community Planning Lab first started in January 2022 to begin empowering community members to be more involved in shaping the future of Summit County. County residents must apply for the program and attend 10 weekly sessions and then present a final project they’re interested in after they have a better understanding of the planning process.
Class members from the second group presented their projects at the Kamas Services Building last Tuesday and they ranged from protecting the Kamas Valley meadow for the future to tackling the housing crisis.
Susan Kutcher’s project recommended changes for Summit County zoning codes saying it would simplify the process. The existing zones she says are ridiculous and inconsistent, especially the rural residential zone.
Looking specifically at the Lower Pinebrook area, she says while it’s zoned rural residential, none of the development in the zone reflects what the zone says it should be.
“This is all considered rural residential, yet you have Quarry Village shopping center, you have a school, you have commercial office buildings, retail, and different types of residential environments,” Kutcher explained. “Why is it listed as rural residential, which is one unit per 20 acres. So, everybody is starting to create their own wheel. That makes your building department less efficient.”
Kutcher suggests the county hire a private consulting firm and update the entire county zoning map, including Park City, to reflect a master plan that incorporates six straight-forward zones: mixed-use, residential, commercial, industrial, public, and agricultural.
“You're a developer, you've got 10 acres, what can I do on these 10 acres, he should know immediately what he can do, the density, because he's got 10 acres, he can do this, he can do that. Then it has to be more efficient,” she said.
Class members Elaine Murray and Bridget Conway’s project addressed nimbyism – which stands for not in my backyard - and how to educate the public earlier in the development process. With more community involvement, Murry says, there will be less community resistance.
“We're doing that by pushing out information,” Murray said. “The way that people now digest information, and that's visually and via small sound bites, through social media channels. So, we're just changing the way we do things from a little more traditional to a little more, what's now, what's happening. We're using video shorts, YouTube video shorts, and we're gonna be pushing that out on all social media channels, and on a landing - a project dashboard for the county.”
The team has also implemented help from the Park City CAPS program, or Center for Advanced Professional, through which high school students will begin producing short videos. Working with a developer, students will create a summary of the development application, including what, where, how many units and what the benefits to the community will be.
To do this, Conway says they need to enlist the county planning department.
“We asked the planning department to require developers to, with their applications, submit a one-page summary sheet specific to the public's gaze,” Conway explained. “Then we give that one-page summary sheet to PCCAPS, who are young and innovative kids, youth, and our future. They're going to learn about the development process in high school, which is huge. And then they're going to create really engaging content that their community will listen to and learn from.”
Conway, who serves as the county’s deputy director of communications, says she’ll push the videos out on all the social media channels. The content will then be loaded onto the county development dashboard, where anyone can get more information about the development and its timeline. The goal they say is that by engaging the public earlier in the process, the developers can create a project that has public buy-in.
Summit County Planner Madlyn McDonough who leads the planning lab says she’s moving forward with Class 3 and applications are now open. Applications must be submitted by January 17 and classes will start March 4.
You can find the link to apply here.