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The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission did not decide whether the inpatient treatment and social detox center on Highland Drive would receive a conditional use permit on Tuesday, and instead deferred discussion until more information was provided. Those who live in the neighborhood have several concerns about the project due to its size, staffing levels, and privacy.
Photo from the Park Record file

The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission did not decide whether a residential treatment and social detox facility would receive a conditional use permit in the Highland Estates area on Tuesday, and instead postponed discussion until more information is provided.

Housed in a former 1,000-square-foot nursing home on Highland Drive, Wasatch Crest Hospital Project, located in a former BeeHive home that was once a 1,000-square-foot nursing home, has submitted a new proposal to the Planning Commission addressing neighborhood concerns in the area. Despite the changes, the planning commissioners questioned the plant’s occupancy and the commission’s legal obligation to approve the application.

Jim Huffman, founder of Wasatch Crest, presented the Planning Commission with several proposed solutions to issues raised by residents during their April meeting to discuss the project. He said the new proposal is aimed at addressing homeowners’ concerns.



Under the new project, capacity has been reduced from 32 to 28 adults and can include up to 12 clients on the social detox side, 16 of whom are inpatients. Huffman expects an average of 22 to 24 customers, based on Wasatch Crest’s annual census. He said the facility had exceeded state law requirements with more beds, but the organization had heard residents’ concerns about the number of clients. The additional space will also allow the creation of two new areas in the building, such as an administration area or client room.

During public hearings, residents said the number was still too high. They called for capacity to be reduced to 16 beds, as was the case when BeeHive Home was running. Several planning commissioners agreed, stating that a reduction in clientele could help mitigate other impacts on the community.



Huffman also addressed community comments about the quality of service at the center. In the past, residents have said they are concerned about the level of staff and the safety of the facility. Huffman said Wasatch Crest wants to provide excellent service as one of the first of its kind in the Park City area, and that the workforce on offer is above state standards. They plan to hire a designated manager, two licensed healthcare professionals, seven licensed clinical professionals, and four to six nurses working around the clock.

However, residents have raised concerns about site layout, parking, litter, smoking, and privacy.

Paxton Guymon, a land use attorney representing Wasatch Crest, advised the Planning Commission on local code standards versus state law. He said the project could not be rejected based on public comments and the commission should have a reason to reject it.

He also agreed with a staff report that stated that conditional use permission could not be denied regarding how the facility would be used to accommodate people with substance use disorders, as they are considered disabled and protected from discrimination.

“You are walking on very thin ice to deny conditional use if an applicant has gone to such lengths to mitigate a reasonably anticipated detrimental effect on a housing group that is protected by state and federal law,” Guymon said.

However, Planning Commissioner Thomas Cook questioned the applicability of Utah’s fair housing laws. Linda Withy, deputy county attorney, told the Planning Commission that the wording in the staff report is incorrect and that state law only applies to certain physical or mental disorders and does not apply to people who struggle with controlled substance use.

“I mean, we’ve been told in the past that any time there’s a treatment facility, a mental hospital, or a group home, we’re automatically obligated to approve it because it’s a protected class.” —Cook. said. “I have to be very clear, this idea that there’s nothing we can do, that it’s a protected class, and we just have to automatically approve it based on what I’m reading and based on our attorney’s advice, that’s really the case is not so. true — so the idea that we’re walking on thin ice, which we’re actually talking about, is to mitigate a known impact on the community.”

Members of the Planning Commission appeared to agree on the need for more information and clarification regarding the litigation process before an application can be approved or denied. They also called for greater communication between the area and Wasatch Crest to answer the community’s outstanding questions and fully address their concerns. The discussion will continue later when the Planning Commission receives more legal and project information.

“I don’t think we have the right answers to all the questions,” planning commissioner Thiann Muni said. “I don’t want to give it up… I think it could be a really great institution that will help a lot of people. I think there are so many things that we need to pay attention to – so many things that need to be fixed to make this possible.”

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