Who Says You Can’t Fight City Hall?
The above photo was taken last fall in front of a 16 acre parcel at the entrance to Jeremy Ranch known as “The Jeremy Center”. The owner of this land has development rights for 66,000 square feet of office/commercial development. He wants to increase those development rights to over 200,000 square feet of development and include residential condominiums. Over 2,000 residents live in Jeremy Ranch.
Let’s go back a step. Summit County is updating its General Plan. The General Plan will serve as an advisory document that defines future planning and uses for each of the County’s 16 neighborhoods. The Summit County Planning Commission is holding hearings on the General Plan to obtain community input. The goals of the 2014 update to the Plan include, but are not limited, to the following:
- Sustainability, both in terms of development and the environment.
- Preservation of open space, view corridors and scenic mountainsides.
- Provision and inclusion of affordable housing.
- Promote quality growth growth and economic development that provides a positive contribution to the community’s quality of life and the mountain resort economy.
The General Plan’s strategy for increasing open space is to concentrate density in specific areas called “density receiving areas”. The “Jeremy Center” parcel was designated as a density receiving area. Essentially, the General Plan, as drafted, would have more easily enabled the owner of the “Jeremy Center” to obtain approval for his project because it fit within some of the goals of the General Plan.
Overwhelming Meeting Attendance
The residents of Jeremy Ranch are organized into several Home Owner’s Associations, the largest being the Jeremy Ranch Owner’s Association, with over 650 homes. The residents of the Jeremy Ranch Owner’s Association sought legal counsel and organized support from the other Jeremy Ranch HOA’s. They hosted a meeting with Patt Putt, the Summit County Community Development Director. They contacted KSL and were interviewed for the news. They encouraged all Jeremy Ranch residents to attend a Planning Commission hearing held last Tuesday, January 13th. The anticipated attendance was so large that the hearing was moved to the Ecker Hill Middle School auditorium.
Over 200 Jeremy Ranch residents attended that meeting. Laura Arnold, President of the Jeremy Ranch Owner’s Association, made an impassioned speech against the Jeremy Center parcel serving as a density receivng area. She asked those who agreed with her to stand up, and the packed auditorium stood up.
What’s Happening Now
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Planning Commission directed staff to modify the draft future land use map to remove the Jeremy Ranch/Pinebrook interchange area as possible development receiving area.
I attended the hearing last Tuesday and was amazed at the sense of community I felt in the room. Patt Putt stated that he had never seen a hearing that was so well attended.
In a world where so much seems out of our individual control, it was heartwarming for me to see a group of organized neighbors wrestle a little control over the gateway to their neighborhood. I was also reminded how fortunate I am to live in a county where the staff and commissioners make transparent decisions and are not corrupt.
As a REALTOR©, I know there is great demand for affordable townhomes in Jeremy Ranch. As a resident, I don’t want my neighborhood to change.
There is another hearing on the General Plan on February 10th where revised maps will be presented. Then the County Commissioners will vote on the Plan.