Politics

“We are not going to be able to build affordable housing unless we build it dense”

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah. — On Wednesday, the Summit County Council held a work session on a proposal that would bring a 22-unit townhome development to what is currently tennis courts across from the Park City Day School in lower Pinebrook.

Sean Steinman of Resonance Ventures, who is behind the project, said his team’s goal is to “Make a closed-loop ecosystem within communities. That’s why we are providing in this space a transit-oriented development that is also going to be accommodating to a massive need for affordability.”

The project would be made up entirely of affordable units, ranging from 30% to 80% AMI. The parcel’s location is a one-minute walk to a High Valley Transit pickup spot and close to Fresh Market and the other nearby businesses. The applicant is also proposing to construct a new sidewalk to Kilby Rd.

The rental rates proposed for the development. (Resonance Ventures)

Councilman Doug Clyde felt that it could be too dense for the neighborhood but emphasized that his main concern was around integration.

“That’s what you get when you concentrate affordable units in one particular development. Is you get people who look at them and say ‘that’s where the brown people live, and I don’t like the brown people.’ And that’s why we have a lot of strong consideration for integration. We’re not just warehousing people here, we’re bringing people into our community.” — Summit County Councilman Doug Clyde.

Clyde hinted he may be more favorable towards the project if some units are designated market-rate.

“We are not going to be able to build affordable housing unless we build it dense,” county councilman Glenn Wright said. “This type of project is the only thing that is affordable that can be built affordably in our county.”

The hinge point for the development is the rezoning proposal, which requires the project to comply with Policy 2.3 of the Snyderville Basin General Plan. Policy 2.3 calls for a “countervailing public interest” to be at hand. The applicant argues that the desperate need for affordable housing meets that demand.

It was recommended to the applicant that they allow the county to finish their legislatively-imposed moderate-income housing plan that is due in October.

Pinebrook residents have been vocal in their opposition, specifically the neighboring Elk Run Townhomes. Concerns center around safety, traffic, property values, infrastructure, and quality of life. The council noted that any worries about short-term rentals are invalid, as they would not be allowed.

Two HOAs associated with Elk Run sent a letter through the law firm Rosing Davidson Frost, accusing the rezone application of being “spot zoning.”

The letter included a video of traffic on the street in front of the Day School that claimed to be “typical traffic activity.” An Elk Run II HOA representative told TownLift that the scene was not organic but rather a “demonstration.”

Wright said when he went over to the street on Monday (school is out), he was the only car on the road.

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