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Proposed commons in Hyde Park ‘on hold’

February 23rd, 2010 Posted in Opinion

Story and photo by Kayla Harding

HYDE PARK–Residents might have noticed the Hyde Park Commons billboard on West Center Street near Maverik, however might be unaware of the changes and halt in development.

Proposed by Jon White and Glen Thompson, the Hyde Park Commons billboard reads that a mixed-use development could potentially include restaurants, retail space, professional offices and services, unique shops and business offices.

When White and Thompson met with former mayor Dave Kooyman, they made a concept proposal that some of the development stand three stories high and include multifamily housing; this meant a place for higher-end condominiums, according to current mayor Bryan Cox.

“We currently, Hyde Park, do not have a multifamily ordinance that allows that type of development and the council is not ready at this time to go forward to create a multifamily housing ordinance,” Cox said.

Cox had heard that White and Thompson are now considering going forward with the retail proposal and no longer including multifamily housing in their plans, however no formal contact regarding the issue has been made about the continuation of development.

“I’m not in agreement with what they proposed, but there’s a lot of different ways it can be approached. Three stories is out of place in Hyde Park.”

Cox said the citizens that he has received feedback from are adamantly against having a three story high condo as you enter the city. “That’s possibly not putting our best foot forward,” Cox said.

According to Cox, the Land Use Authority composed a letter informing White and Thompson that the City Council was not ready at this time to move forward on multifamily housing, but that they would love to work with them on the retail development of Hyde Park Commons.

The letter also asked White and Thompson that if they hadn’t taken the steps to apply for the billboard to remain, that the sign would need to come down by a certain date. According to Cox, White and Thompson have picked up the application and Cox believes they have filled it out and dropped it off with the city.

“Because there is nothing that has been approved, nothing that has been proposed to the city for approval, this would fall under the classification of a billboard and they needed to file an application to the city to have that type of a sign up,” Cox said.

Cox said that the mayor doesn’t vote on ordinances, they are up to the council to vote on. Therefore, when he says the city isn’t ready to move forward, the council has made that decision. Since he cannot vote, Cox said he tries to be a liaison between the council and developers such as White and Thompson.

Hyde Park Commons, said Cox, would benefit citizens due to the acquisition of sales and property tax, which helps with some of the costs of running a community. He said the proposed businesses, such as retail stores, would meet the needs of the residents as well as freeing up traffic congestion and air pollution in the valley.

Stores like Walmart or big box stores are the type of stores Cox has the idea would not be included in Hyde Park Commons when White and Thompson made their proposal; instead they suggested large stores that have more of a niche market.


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