Letters, Nov. 13-16: Proposal for Tech Center doesn’t fix our problems


Proposal doesn’t solve our challenges

At first, our County Council’s argument in favor of the Dakota Pacific project was that it would help solve our affordable housing challenges. At the council meeting just a few weeks ago, the argument was that this development would solve the traffic issues at the Kimball Junction interchange — eventually. Now, according to Councilor Glenn Wright’s recent guest editorial, its raison d’etre is … global warming?

Wright cites a lot of challenges to Summit County that many, if not most, residents probably agree with. Growth is putting strain on our infrastructure and our community; global warming presents significant threats to our economic drivers and our water supply; our economy is very concentrated on tourism, construction, real estate transactions and retail/services; we don’t have enough affordable and middle-income housing; and traffic is bad and getting worse.



Unfortunately, the proposed Dakota Pacific development at the Tech Center does, quite literally, nothing to solve any of these challenges.

On growth: This development takes the number of existing residential development entitlements in Summit County and adds 1,100 to it.



On global warming: The least efficient emitter of carbon on the planet is a gas-powered car sitting in gridlock, and Park City is a driving town. Tell me with a straight face that these new residents aren’t going to be driving and sitting in gridlock.

On economic diversification: The portions of the project requiring re-zoning are (1) a hotel with a gondola to the ski resorts, (2) commercial retail, (3) market-rate and mixed housing. What it does do is remove some of the zoned office space that could be used by our economy that is already diversifying with the massive acceleration of remote work and departure of white-collar jobs from cities.

On affordable housing: This development will create more commercial jobs that require affordable housing than it will affordable housing units.

On traffic: This development agreement, so far, makes zero commitments to delivering the proposed UDOT enhancements to S.R. 224.

Please join me in making your voice heard about this project at the public hearing on Nov. 17. This is our county, and we need to protect it.

Craig Kelly

Silver Creek

*****

Stop the sprawl

I just finished reading Summit County Council member Glenn Wright’s guest editorial regarding the Tech Center project. I’m sorry, but the arguments he puts forward in an attempt to find a silver lining to this project are feeble at best. His arguments boils down to: by building this project we will address development sprawl and somehow force UDOT’s hand into dealing with the traffic problem in the Kimball Junction area. There is absolutely no assurance that the continuing development sprawl will be stopped.

In the 10 years I’ve lived in the Kimball Junction area I’ve seen multiple commercial and residential developments add to this already congested area: Fresh Market, Skullcandy and additions to the Newpark condominiums, to name just a few. Also look at all the sprawling residential development occurring just east and west of the Interstate 80, S.R. 224 junction. There is also no assurance that UDOT will adequately address the already existing traffic problems. As Mr. Wright confesses, any real improvements are scheduled a decade from now. Real improvement is already needed in the area, before any new development and UDOT’s funds are needed all across the state to address Utah’s continuing population boom. And what about the other problems the Tech Center project will exacerbate? We are literally running out of water, not only in Utah, but in the entire West. A new 1,100 residential plus commercial development will increase water demands, as well as the need for more schools. Also, after the recent Parleys Canyon Fire and the continuing air quality decline, is it wise to bring in such a development? The answer is obvious: Stop the explosion of development in the area.

Mark Rackers

Pinebrook

*****

American democracy in peril

What do today’s Republican and Democratic parties have in common with the movie “Star Wars?”

An analogy can be easily made when describing the parties. Donald Trump in essence is Darth Vader and his army of mindless, drone-like warriors are the Republican legislators who obediently follow his claim that the 2020 election was stolen. Despite having over 60 lawsuits rejected by the courts, and numerous so-called audits, no evidence substantiating Trump’s claim has ever been proven. Yet, “the big lie” grows each day. It is like facts and truth do not matter.

States with legislative Republican majorities are feverishly passing voter suppression laws to ensure Republican candidates are declared winners in future elections.

For over 240 years, America has been the envy of people across the world. Participatory democracy has worked because we have had a healthy two-party system in Congress that worked on behalf of the American citizen. This not what is happening now. The Republican Party is so fixated on power that they have lost their integrity and have abandoned their oath to the Constitution for the sake of receiving Donald Trump’s admiration! It is one thing to disagree ideologically, but to simply say no to every policy or proposed bill by the Democrats, even to the point that they are unwilling to debate an actual issue, is unconscionable!

The fragility of democracy is being tested like it has never been before. If the Democrats do not get their act together soon and pass a voting rights bill that thwarts the Republican efforts to suppress voting rights, democracy will have failed. But there is still hope that democracy can be saved, and it lies squarely on the shoulders of the Republican voters.

Republicans, ask yourselves, do I want to live in a country that is based in good, truth and hope or live in a society that is full of fear, lies and chaos?

Democracy needs as its fulcrum truth, whereas lies are the hallmark of authoritarianism. Are there enough Republican critical thinkers to keep democracy? It will soon be made manifest with the upcoming 2022 midterm elections!

John White

Midway

*****

Put welfare of community first

I read with interest the fearsome editorial of County Councilor Glenn Wright, and find that I do have a few questions.

First, you say that “Global warming is an existential threat to the world, the U.S., Utah and to Summit County.” That is a fearsome thought and it is true. But, how can the addition of over 3,000 new residents and thousands of additional gas-burning vehicles in Kimball Junction alleviate that issue?

As for housing: One of the main issues here over the past years has been affordable housing for educators, firefighters, police officials and service personnel. The Dakota Pacific development has about 300 units listed at a “lower price point for workforce housing” and over 700 units for much higher prices. I would think the development should have more affordable housing for the local workforce.

Traffic: You admit that the traffic flow at Kimball Junction must be improved. You also state that UDOT has a plan for the improvement, but it will not be completed for another seven to 10 years. Your solution is to add another 2,000 to 4,000 autos to the issue right now in order to put pressure on UDOT to “hurry” the project. Would it not be better to work with UDOT in trying to resolve the issue now?

Open space: Your concern for open space is interesting. Have you and Dakota Pacific determined the impact on the open space in the area of suggested development?

I think the answers to my questions were taken care of by the attorney representing the Dakota Pacific project when he addressed the council a few weeks ago. When told that the UDOT project would take seven to 10 years to complete, he said that the investors in the project could not wait that long to get a return on their investment that they deserved. That tells me that they are not concerned about the welfare of the community, but concerned only with a good financial return on their investment.

I respectfully hope to hear from you and the other councilors.

Gerald R. Hubbell

Jeremy Ranch

*****

We deserve better than what project offers

The Summit County Council has no obligation to change the permitted land use for the Tech Center. The council has two options:

1) Leave the land use “as is.”

2) Approve the request of Dakota Pacific to build 1.8 million square feet, with 30-plus buildings (apartments, condoss, hotel & retail). Estimated to include 1,100 new residential units.

Changing land use because previous owners, for whatever reasons, could not attract new tenants is unacceptable.

Now is not the time to walk away from the original plan for a Tech Center that would employ high-skilled workers and balance our economy. Now is the time to market the Tech Center to local and national tenants. The site is a fantastic opportunity to bring a stable work force to Park City. A planned office development with buildings like the existing Skullcandy headquarters could be developed over a period of years in agreement with UDOT long-range road improvement plans.

What’s needed is a national marketing plan targeted at CEOs who want to meet the demands of new hybrid office workers. We are witnessing a paradigm shift in office usage. Companies are evaluating how much space they actually need for fractional work days and shared space. Why change land use now when corporate relocations to smaller markets are at an all-time high? Provo is one of the hottest office markets for tech startups. The Tech Center could be a great solution, but nothing will happen if no one is marketing the site.

Why should Summit County change land use when the Dakota Pacific development does not contain an approved or funded traffic mitigation plan? Perhaps the most irrational design in the Dakota Pacific plan is ingress/egress via Overland Drive and Powderwood Drive. Traffic will bisect onto Kilby Road, a two-lane road close to Ecker Hill Middle School. So much for getting kids to school on time.

A phased-in office development over several years in synchronization with UDOT plans has manageable impact on police, fire, schools, water, traffic, air quality and other environmental issues.

I urge you to demand councilors not approve the Dakota Pacific land use change — we deserve better.

Dean Fogel

Snyderville Basin

Source: Einnews

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