A Park City Council candidate and longtime critic of a development in Deer Valley on Thursday leveled a corruption charge against City Hall as she requested that the project be stopped.
Lisa Wilson, a Deer Valley resident who is one of six people on the City Council ballot, has for years opposed the development known as North Silver Lake. Wilson has regularly sent correspondences to City Hall and reporters offering her detailed analyses of the project, raising doubts about items such as the calculations used to determine how much land at the site will remain undeveloped.
But the Thursday message, sent by e-mail to leaders in Park City and Summit County as well as the state legislator whose district includes Park City, appears blunter in some of its language, particularly coming less than a month before the primary election in the City Council contest.
Wilson labeled the message "Corruption in City Hall" and in the second sentence asks that officials in Park City "please stop the backhoes and dump trucks at the North Silver Lake Hotel site." The message ends with the same words. She says in the message she is "still trying to prevent a lawsuit."
Wilson has challenged the project at various stages but has had little success. The Park City Council has repeatedly supported the development approvals granted by the Park City Planning Commission.
Wilson, who lives close to the project site, is especially concerned with the calculations leading to the amount of land that was set aside from development and the property taxes paid at the site.
"I have emailed or been to the City Hall nearly every day since major backhoe work began. There seems to be no stopping City Hall from allowing the destruction of environmentally sensitive habitat. The mature forest and tons of soil has already been hauled away," Wilson's message on Thursday said.
The charge of corruption at City Hall is the most dramatic statement yet during what has been a mild-mannered City Council campaign lacking any political pizzazz. Wilson said at the outset of her campaign the decision to seek a City Council spot was based on her opposition to the North Silver Lake project. She has broached many of the issues in the Thursday e-mail during previous appearances at City Council meetings.
City Hall released a written response to Wilson's claims later on Thursday, saying officials are "confident that the current and past planning approvals regarding this project are valid . . . " It says a state ombudsman has confirmed the approval. The statement also supports the property taxes that have been paid at the site, saying that Wilson's numbers "are factually in error."
In an interview on Thursday evening, Mayor Dana Williams expressed confidence in the municipal government's handling of North Silver Lake. He declined to discuss whether Wilson's message on Thursday could have been politically motivated.
"I don't think City Hall is corrupt at all. She has brought up for years her personal issue with this topic," the mayor said, adding, "There's nothing I can do about a citizen going off and accusing us of something that, in our opinion, is inaccurate."
The North Silver Lake site sits close to the Evergreen and Bellemont neighborhoods. The 54-unit project, a combination of houses and condominiums, was approved in mid-2009. Progress was halted as the economy faltered, but work recently was restarted.
A primary election in the City Council campaign is scheduled Aug. 13. The top four vote-getters in the primary election will advance to Election Day in November, when two City Council spots and the mayor's office are on the ballot.