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Bill enabling Dakota Pacific development to proceed without county approval passes Senate

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — A bill that could allow Dakota Pacific Real Estate (DPRE) to move forward with its Park City Tech Center project without Summit County approval passed the Senate on February 16.

Sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Wayne Harper, S.B. 84 amends provisions related to housing and transit reinvestment zones. Summit County’s senators, Sen. John Johnson and Sen. Ron Winterton voted against the bill.

The bill’s floor sponsor, Rep. Casey Snider, R-Cache, added language of H.B. 446 to S.B. 84 before it was initially voted on in the Utah House of Representatives, where it passed on February 15. 

This addition to S.B. 84 would limit local government control by giving property owners near public transit hubs in counties with small public transit districts “certain vested development rights if the county failed to submit an application for a housing and transit reinvestment zone before a certain deadline.” 

S.B. 84 directly benefits DPRE, which has been negotiating an amendment application for the Park City Tech Center development agreement in both the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission and Summit County Council in recent years.

DPRE purchased the Park City Tech Center from the Boyer Company in late 2018, and applied to amend the Development Agreement initially entered by the Boyer Company in 2008 to fundamentally change the project from a 1.3 million square foot tech research park into a high-density mixed-use project focused primarily on market-rate residential uses.

“It is disturbing that the Utah Legislature would pass legislation to enrich a specific developer at the expense of the community and in violation of a Development Agreement,” said Roger Armstrong, Summit County Council chair. “This horrible assault on local communities’ rights of self-determination is a blemish upon fair, open, and transparent government. The Utah Legislature should be ashamed.”

The bill will now make its way to the desk of Gov. Spencer Cox for final approval, where it will either be vetoed or signed into law.

“We hope that Governor Cox will recognize the danger of destroying local control, even in matters where the legislature has strong feelings for supporting an applicant,” Armstrong said. “We would hope our sister counties in Utah, all Utah municipalities, and our trade organizations – the Utah Association of Counties and the Utah League of Cities and Towns share our deep concern about the local control issue and raise their voices in support of a veto to SB 84.”

In light of the passage of S.B. 84, the Summit County Council decided to delay a public hearing on DPRE’s amendment application that would have taken place on February 22 in favor of a work session.

“Council recognizes February 22nd is during winter break, and due to the potential for increased interest in this project due to SB 84, Council wants to instead hold the public hearings on March 1 and March 8,” said a statement from the Summit County Council. “The public is also welcome to attend the work session on February 22 but will not be able to provide comment at that time.”

Summit County Council shared the following updated schedule for DPRE’s amendment application:

  • February 22, 2023 – Work session with DPRE to discuss DPRE’s and Summit County’s final issues concerning the proposed amended uses.
  • March 1, 2023 – Public hearing concerning the DPRE Amendment Application.
  • March 8, 2023 – Public Hearing concerning the DPRE Amendment Application.
  • March 15, 2023 – Deliberation and possible decision concerning the DPRE Amendment Application.

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