City Hall and the Treasure developers continue to meet weekly as the sides attempt to craft an agreement, but little has been made public about the discussions in recent months.
Jonathan Weidenhamer, who manages the municipal government's economic development programs and is assigned to the Treasure negotiations, said in an interview this week the sides hope to make progress over the next two months. He declined to discuss the talks in detail, though.
There will be a change in the mayor's office early in 2014, as Mayor Dana Williams retires after 12 years as Park City's top elected official. Treasure remains perhaps the highest-profile piece of City Hall business that remains unfinished as Williams enters his final two months in office. Treasure has been before City Hall through much of Williams' administration, but the development talks stalled years ago. It has seemed Williams wants to reach a resolution to Treasure or at least make significant progress toward one by the time he leaves office.
"There's a sense of urgency to try to get something to progress by the end of the year," Weidenhamer said, acknowledging he is unsure whether an agreement will be reached by then.
Weidenhamer said he is a part of a team from City Hall that has been holding the meetings with the Sweeney family -- brothers Mike Sweeney, Pat Sweeney and Ed Sweeney. The Sweeney family historically held the Treasure acreage and more recently sold a stake in the land to a partner.
Weidenhamer said the weekly meetings typically last approximately 45 minutes. He said he anticipates maintaining the weekly schedule of meetings.
The Treasure acreage is situated on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift. The Sweeney family in the 1980s secured an overall development approval for the Treasure land itself and nearby parcels of ground. Treasure is the largest part of the overall approval, and another permit is required.
The Sweeney family and Park City officials nearly 10 years ago started discussions about the Treasure development proposal, upward of 1 million square feet, but talks with the Park City Planning Commission faltered. Panel members and people who live or have properties on streets close to the Treasure site had numerous concerns about the size of the project and traffic, among other worries.
As the Planning Commission talks bogged down, the mayor and Park City Council, in a rare move, became involved in the discussions in an effort to break the logjam. There has since been an unorthodox idea of attempting to shift approximately half of the development rights attached to the Treasure acreage to a location deemed better suited for growth.
The meetings in recent months are believed to have focused on crafting a deal to shift half of the development rights elsewhere and allow the rest of them to be built at the Treasure site. Spots that have been seen as possibilities for a shift, known in City Hall circles as receiving zones, include the Bonanza Park district and Snow Park.
Weidenhamer declined to discuss locations that are under consideration should some of the development rights be shifted off the Treasure land. He also declined to comment about whether the discussions have involved property owners in the potential receiving zones. If a deal is reached, he said, a "robust" public process would commence prior to an agreement being finalized.
Mike Sweeney on Thursday declined to comment about the discussions.
There have seemed to be some signals since mid-October of a renewed interest in the Treasure question even though the issue, unexpectedly, has been of little consequence during this year's City Hall campaign after it had been a key issue in previous ones.
The leader of a Treasure opposition group, called the Treasure Hill Impact Neighborhood Coalition, appeared at a Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday, saying the developers are seeking a larger project than should be allowed. Brian Van Hecke mentioned Treasure as he spoke broadly about the possibility of large developments elsewhere in the Park City area as well.