Summit County, Dakota Pacific explore expanding Kimball Junction park-and-ride together
The same developer Summit County sued last year to halt its controversial proposal for Kimball Junction may become a partner in solving the junction’s traffic problem.
The Summit County Council wrapped its first week of special meetings with developer Dakota Pacific Real Estate Jan. 25.
The meetings focused on traffic and transportation, and both parties signaled a willingness to collaborate on the issue.
Dakota Pacific CEO Marc Stanworth says the developer could expand the Kimball Junction Transit Center’s park-and-ride lot. That means redeveloping the Sheldon Richins Building.
“The idea was, ‘Are there civic options, civic-oriented facilities, libraries, senior centers—those kinds of things—that the county might need?’” Stanworth said Jan. 25. “It could work in conjunction with parking here on this site.”
The two parties toyed with the idea of a land swap this week, where Dakota gets the Richins Building land and Summit County gets land to the west. Neither was sure whether a swap is necessary to collaborate on the traffic issue.
The rest of Dakota Pacific’s proposal includes developing about 1 million square feet on roughly 50 empty acres to the west. The developer already has the right to build offices there, but it's at the council asking for the right to put 727 units of housing, some businesses and a park there instead.
For the first time since Dakota filed its application in 2019, the Utah Department of Transportation was a part of the public discussion around the project.
UDOT representatives re-presented their three best ideas for fixing Kimball Junction’s gridlock in detail for over an hour. Stanworth expressed a willingness to “encourage focus” on the issue from state officials.
Councilmember Roger Armstrong says he hopes the pair’s combined connections at the Utah Legislature can make state Route 224 a priority. He’s hearing there isn’t room in this year’s state budget to help the county pay for improvements.
There’s no timeline for UDOT's Kimball Junction overhaul, except that it will choose one of the three options this year.
Bus lanes running nearly the full length of state Route 224 may help in the interim, but even those won’t be built until at least 2027.
Besides establishing a shared willingness to push state authorities to prioritize fixing Kimball’s traffic problem, the council and Dakota Pacific didn’t make any decisions this week. Armstrong worries the pace is already too slow.
“What I don't want to do next week is what we did today,” Armstrong said Jan. 25. “We've now done this two meetings in a row; we've seen the same damn thing twice.”
The next special meeting won’t be for a week. Council Chair Malena Stevens suggested keeping to the schedule: talking about Dakota Pacific’s residential densities and affordable housing.
County officials say it’s important to keep the discussions moving and make a decision before the end of the legislature’s 2024 general session March 1.
Armstrong has also said he’s received assurances the legislature won’t be involved in the latest negotiations with Dakota Pacific.