County sets final deadline for Canyons golf course
July 31, 2009
Wolf Mountain Resorts LC has until Oct.1 to turn over the necessary easements and drop all legal impediments to construction of an 18-hole golf course at The Canyons or risk losing development approvals for a 35-lot subdivision that was part of the original development agreement for the resort. Wolf Mountain is the underlying leaseholder of much of the resort.
Once Wolf removes its roadblocks, other landowners in The Canyons Specially Planned Area have until this coming May 1 to begin construction on the long-awaited course, and until May 1, 2013, to open the course to the public, or all further development at The Canyons involving those entities will be suspended.
According to a 52-page report issued by interim Summit County Manager Brian Bellamy on Thursday, the county has exhausted its recourses for expediting the project, and is setting a new, hard deadline.
The American Skiing Company, Utah (ASCU)’s original development agreement with the county promised a completed public golf course by 2002 in exchange for specific development approvals for several landowners at the resort, but disagreements over the exact outline of the course put the project in legal limbo. As a result, the developers say, they were unable to obtain financing to move forward on the $11 million project.
Bellamy’s report details the long, convoluted history of the proposed golf course, beginning with the original development agreement between Summit County and ASCU in 1997 and including the amended agreement in 1999, the soft default and suspension of plats and building permits in 2002, two "standstill" agreements allowing ASCU deadline extensions in 2003 and 2004, Wolf’s refusal in 2006 to execute the deeds or sign the plats for the golf course, a redesign of the golf course to exclude Wolf’s property, the county’s lawsuit and subsequent settlement with Wolf, the sale of The Canyons to the Talisker Corporation, Wolf’s lawsuit against Summit County and the county’s counterclaim, Wolf’s notice of intent to file a lawsuit contesting all of the golf course properties, and finally last June’s public hearing that allowed each participating entity a chance to air its grievances and requirements.
The county’s apparent willingness to take a tough stand and rescind the development agreement if the parties can’t come to an agreement seems to have made a difference.
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On Friday, after reading Bellamy’s report, Kenny Griswold, principal partner of Wolf Mountain said, " Our negotiations with the county over the past month have been productive and Wolf looks forward to the start of construction on the course next summer." He added, "We look forward to doing our share I think it will be spectacular."
And on behalf of Talisker, attorney David Smith released this statement: "Talisker looks forward to the timely implementation of the County’s findings on the Golf Course to be built at the Canyons. With the addition of the golf course and other planned improvements, Talisker will create a world-class all-season resort."
In addition to Wolf Mountain, the county’s deadline applies to: ASCU; the Resort Village Merchants Association; Willow Draw, LC; the D.A. Osguthorpe Family Partnership and several other landholders.
On Friday Bellamy told The Record that he is "thrilled to see that people are willing to bury the hatchet to get this going." He added that he is "very optimistic" the landowners will meet the new deadlines.