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CANDIDATES AGREE DEVELOPMENT IS CENTRAL ISSUE

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Candidates for a contested seat on the Summit County Commission agree urbanization of the scenic Snyderville Basin is the issue of the day.

"Development has not been paying its way," says Democrat Sheldon D. Richins, the incumbent. "One thing we don't want is a lot of sprawl. We want it to be organized, good growth.""I'm for growth, but this thing has just gotten out of hand," says Republican challenger Elden F. Pace. "I can't stand land developers . . . they're just buying up this and that and there's no organization to it."

Richins, a 56-year-old rancher from Henefer, is also being challenged by independent write-in candidate Ruth Wagner of Park City. The three-member commission has four-year terms.

Richins notes that this summer the commission adopted what in effect is a moratorium on new development in the Snyderville Basin, the broad valley around Park City. The six-month freeze allows the county to rewrite building codes in the area, which were widely perceived as being too lenient on developers, who are thriving off the growing popularity of the valley.

Pace agrees that "there ought to be a pretty hefty development fee" but says too that the county needs an economic development department to lure light industry to the area. Pace, 49, operates Great Western Log Furniture, which employs about 50 people in the Coalville area.

Wagner, an attorney who has grandchildren in the Park City schools, says the commission needs to regulate development with an eye toward its effect on local classrooms.

"Our schools are now overcrowded," she says. "One of the commission's jobs is to secure the health and welfare of the community . . . they've got to decide what is a healthy population."

Wagner contends she would bring some valuable perspective to the commission because of her experience living in areas with growth problems, including the San Fernando Valley of California and urban New York.

Richins said other issues facing the commission include overcrowding of county recreational facilities.

"With this accelerated growth the county recreation program has gotten too crowded to serve all our youth," says Richins, noting that voters will decide during a special election in April whether to support a new sports complex center near Park City.

He also supports the notion that federal lands should be open to multiple use.

"My position and that of the commission is that we want it available for recreation, grazing, mineral and timber and I feel personally responsible to work as closely as we can with the federal agency to make sure it's pristine too."

Wagner said the time is ripe for the commissioners' posts to become full-time jobs, an eventuality Richins said is inevitable.

Pace says the county needs to hire a full-time county manager "running around handling hot spots and problems and reporting back to the commissioners" at least weekly.

He also advocates expanding the commission from three to five seats.

"The way it is now, it's too easy to influence policy by swaying one or two votes."