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SUMMIT PARK FINDS ANSWER TO FRUSTRATING WATER WOES

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At last, water.

After more than two years of searching for an alternative source, managers of this thirsty, high-altitude subdivision say they've found one."We're delighted," said Marti Plaisier, district manager for the Summit Park Water Special Service District.

But there's bad news too.

"The earliest we think we'll be on line is a year or more," said Plaisier.

A lengthy bureaucratic process involving the state, the federal government and Summit County is required to get a permanent well permit for the spot where water has been located above the neighborhood, which sits at about 7,000 feet above sea level just south of Parley's Summit.

Even then, it's not a sure thing. Plaisier said a test well has found water, but that the quantity and quality are unknown, though she said all indications are positive.

"We've spent a lot of money to locate the best source," said Plaisier.

Land speculators and would-be residents wait in the meantime with considerable frustration, said Plaisier, who noted that only about 400 of the subdivision's 850 lots have been developed because of a two-year-old construction moratorium induced by Summit Park's water woes.

The neighborhood has long been touted as an ideal habitat for commuters who don't mind driving 15 minutes to Salt Lake City and like the proximity to Park City but don't want to locate farther east in more expensive developments like Pinebrook and Jeremy Ranch.

"Our goal is to try to drill a well this fall," said Plaisier, who noted that the subdivision has a considerable bankroll with which to work. The state Board of Water Resources recently granted Summit Park $750,000 to develop another water source.

That funding is expected to be enough to get more water to the area, but it will cost vacant lot owners, who next year will begin paying an annual $150 assessment on each parcel of ground they own. Each subdivision lot already is assessed $225 annually for the current water supply.

Local land values have risen and fallen with water fortunes. Summit Park lots sold for $7,000 when the subdivision first opened, in the 1970s. Lot prices soared into the mid-$20,000 range in the late '80s before falling again, but have since rebounded.

The Summit County Commission was set to let building continue in late 1992 when a new well was opened by the water district. But structural flaws caused bacterial contamination and made that water unfit to drink.