Summit County planning department outlines long-term goals |

Summit County planning department outlines long-term goals

Officials with the Summit County planning department met with the Summit Board of County Commissioners Tuesday to outline notable 2013 accomplishments and to prioritize projects going into 2014.

The planning department annually brings its work program priorities to the commission to ensure that work efforts are furthering county goals, policies and programs, said Summit County planning manager Lindsay Hirsch. That discussion is usually timed to coincide with budget preparation for the upcoming year.

Among the top priorities for the planning department during the next six months is to work with the U.S. Forest Service, local towns and other appropriate entities to acquire properties identified as suitable locations for affordable housing, and pursue public/private partnerships to develop affordable housing on those sites, Hirsch said.

To date the county has banked two properties deemed suitable for future development, including the Dillon Valley Church property in the Snake River Basin and the Ray property in South Forty. The planning department also has made progress, through efforts in Congress, to purchase Lake Hill property from the Forest Service for a potential administrative site.

With some properties already identified as viable options for county workforce housing, Hirsch said the majority of the next six months would be dedicated to developing “buy-down” and payment-in-lieu programs.

Development of a buy-down program would allow the county to purchase existing real estate and establish appropriate deed restrictions for converting existing free-market units to deed-restricted affordable workforce housing, which is identified as a high priority action item in the county’s Joint Housing Strategy, Hirsch said. The buy-down program is to be implemented by county staff in coordination with the Summit County Housing Authority.

The department also is working on a new payment-in-lieu methodology following the recently amended Copper Mountain Planned Unit Development, approved in July by the commission. The new PUD stipulates that the county incorporate that methodology into the Land Use and Development Code, with the help of an independent consultant. The cost is estimated between $5,000 and $15,000.

“It’s going to be a busy six months,” Hirsch said. “But we did finish all the amendments to the comprehensive code, which was a major milestone.”

For highlights of those amendments, see related story on page 3.

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