Do you want a dollar store in your neighborhood? How do you feel about a cigarette shop? Maybe a laundromat? Don’t like those? Then it’s time to spend a few minutes, get educated, and voice any concerns.
Summit County has created proposed Land Use Maps for major neighborhoods in the Snyderville Basin. These maps show, among other things, where they are considering allowing more commercial development. If growth happens, as predicted, commercial development will increase as well. The county doesn’t want this to be haphazard, so they are trying to figure out how to best manage it (and where to put it).
That doesn’t mean you will necessarily like what is being proposed. The county seems to understand this and is generally asking for your feedback. While there are many meetings planned, all you really need to do is email your feelings to the county. However, if you don’t provide feedback, please keep in mind that the look and feel of your neighborhood could be very different in 5 years.
It’s also important to understand how this eventually will work. We’ve heard people say “I wouldn’t mind if they allowed a nice coffee shop to come into my neighborhood.” However, that’s not how it works. There are various classes of zoning that indicate if commercial development is allowed. Those are commercial, light industrial, industrial, neighborhood commercial, community commercial, service commercial, resort center, and town center. Once an area gets zoned, anything approved for that zone can be built there. So, it’s generally impossible (using normal zoning) to allow only a coffee shop somewhere. For instance, you may hear that they want to make an area “Neighborhood Commercial.” That’s one of the “least commercial” options. With that designation, though, you can still apply for a conditional use permit allowing anything from a laundromat to a bar. So you may think you are getting a coffee shop but what ends up being served may be a little bit stronger.
That being said, these meetings are really about getting the public’s input on where they want to put more commercial activities, open space, etc. We would suggest looking at the Draft Land Use Maps and finding your neighborhood. Then look for any area that says “Mixed Use Receiving Area.” This means that it would be an area where the county would make it possible to have more tightly spaced buildings and/or commercial offerings. Then imagine that area with more business in it. Perhaps a grocery. Maybe a gas station. It could be a restaurant. There could be all sorts of businesses that would spring up there. Are you OK with that? If so, then you may want to write the county and let them know. Hate the idea? Then you for sure want to write the county and let them know.
So, who do you write? A good place to start is Summit County Community Development (i.e. the County’s planning and zoning folks). They are one of the most open groups to receiving feedback that we’ve been around. You could email the director, Patt Putt or the Planning and Zoning Administrator, Peter Barnes. They will get the info to the right person.
The positive spin on this is that you have an opportunity to shape the future of what our community looks like. The negative spin is that the community is going to change, so you better start fighting for what you want. The reality is that if you don’t speak up you will be a casual bystander as these events unfold around you. If you ignore this and finally decide to say something “next month” or “next year”, it will likely be too late. So, why not start now when you can make a difference?
If you want more information, there is an open house at the Kimball Junction Library building (Richins building) on Tuesday from 4PM-6PM. That’s a great place to learn and ask any questions you may have. If you can’t make it, please do at least take a look at the land use maps mentioned above and email your feedback to Patt Putt or Peter Barnes.
We can’t emphasize it enough. This is very important.