Golf course construction stalled
July 15, 2006
An 18-hole golf course was slated to open at The Canyons roughly five years ago.
But this week construction of the course was still stalled as Summit County commissioners considered whether legal action should be taken against the resort’s largest landowner, Wolf Mountain Resort managing partner Kenny Griswold.
Griswold owns much of the developable land and ski terrain at The Canyons, some of which he leases to the resort’s parent company, Park City-based American Skiing Co.
But there are roughly 20 other landowners within the so-called Canyons Specially Planned Area who have agreed to contribute easements for construction of the golf course.
Accusing Griswold of not upholding his end of the deal, the Summit County Commission issued Wolf Mountain a default notice in May giving the company 60 days to fix the alleged problems.
Commissioners postponed a decision Wednesday on whether to declare Wolf Mountain in default of a development agreement at The Canyons.
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"One way or the other it will be resolved next week," Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer said. "We hope to have it resolved in a positive manner."
Griswold said he is confident the dispute will be resolved.
"I think it’s already solved," he said. "We just needed time to finish out some of the issues."
Wolf Mountain will provide more land for the golf course than all other property owners at The Canyons combined, Griswold said.
"American Skiing Company was obligated to put this golf course in five years ago," Griswold said. "It is somewhat complex when American Skiing Company doesn’t own the land that the golf course is going on."
Wolf Mountain officials won’t provide the property until American Skiing has plans for a "fully engineered golf course," he added.
"They didn’t have that yet. They didn’t have everything worked out," Griswold said. "Especially in light of American Skiing Company’s financial condition, we don’t want to be casual about approving a golf course if the real estate component, which is primary to the future of this ski resort, suffers."
American Skiing Company has reportedly worked with Summit County and Wolf Mountain to draft a settlement agreement Griswold is expected to sign next week.
"We’re all hopeful that Wolf’s going to sign that so that we can move forward on the golf course," said Tim Vetter, a spokesman for The Canyons. "Next Wednesday we should know whether they’re all on board or not."
Before Griswold was issued the default notice, Summit County officials claimed Wolf Mountain hadn’t delivered on several of its commitments related to construction of the course.
"Within 60 days they need to convey their interest in the land for the golf course, they need to convey the open space and they need to grant these utility, trail and roadway easements," said David Gee, an attorney representing Summit County before the default notice was issued in May.
Wolf Mountain remains a "big cheerleader of the golf course," Griswold said, insisting that the actions of American Skiing could prevent landowners at The Canyons from achieving the "great village resort dream."
"This has the potential to be greater than the size of Vail and Beaver Creek, with today’s reality — new buildings, state of the art infrastructure, smart houses," Griswold said. "It’d be different if ASC had the money to pay for that, but they have to go borrow money They have not done a great job of increasing the value of their properties."