Money, greed driving Bonanza Park land swap, critic says
May 17, 2013
A crowd of people who live or have properties in the Iron Horse condominium complex just off Bonanza Drive on Thursday night sharply criticized an idea to build a Rocky Mountain Power substation close to their properties.
The comments, made during a Park City Council meeting, continued the deep-rooted opposition to the possibility of Rocky Mountain Power dismantling its substation off Munchkin Drive and then building a new one on lower Iron Horse Drive.
The crowd on Thursday night packed the City Council chambers. Most of the people who spoke to the elected officials opposed the idea. A few seemed to want the substation move considered. The City Council was not scheduled to cast a vote or make major decisions.
Rocky Mountain Power says it needs to upgrade its capabilities in Park City to meet the demand for electricity, necessitating a revamped facility. The need for the upgrade has spurred a broader discussion involving a separate idea to redevelop the Bonanza Park district.
The substation now occupies a central spot in the district. The lead developer in Bonanza Park, Mark J. Fischer, wants to swap land he controls on lower Iron Horse Drive for the Rocky Mountain Power parcel off Munchkin Drive. The substation would then be built on the land on lower Iron Horse Drive.
Fischer, who attended the meeting, has said the Bonanza Park redevelopment would not be as ambitious as it could be if the substation remains in its current location. People in the Iron Horse condominium complex are dismayed with the prospects of a substation being built so close to their places, saying that one could drive down property values and look terrible.
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The City Council took a little more than one hour of comments on Thursday night, hearing from people who live in the Iron Horse condos and others.
"Is there a guarantee I’m not going to lose money," said Pat McDowell, who lives in one of the condominiums at Iron Horse.
Patricia Kempton, who owns a unit at the Iron Horse condominiums, said people would not buy a place that sits so close to a power station. She said a developer wants to move a problem from his land to someone else’s, labeling the situation one of money and greed.
Another person with interests in the Iron Horse condominiums, Irwin Krigman, agreed that the substation should be the problem of the developer. In two pages of written comments, Krigman criticized a wall that would be built around the facility. He dubbed the idea "the new Park City Prison because of its close resemblance to a Federal Penitentiary."
Krigman’s written comments also touched on points like whether City Hall should be involved in the discussions, his prediction of a drop in property values and traffic.
"A developer who purchased his property with a large power substation now wants the city to assist in dumping his problem on the doorstep of over 600 low income residents so he can improve the value of his property and the size of his development," his written comments said.
There was a tense moment between City Councilman Alex Butwinski, who ran the meeting in the absence of Mayor Dana Williams, and Krigman as Krigman delivered his spoken testimony. The two briefly argued about the amount of time Krigman spoke. A nearby police officer stood up momentarily during the back and forth between the two.
Krigman has previously told the elected officials a lawsuit could be filed to block the move of the substation if that is the decision by leaders. That comment was made during a January meeting.
Fischer, meanwhile, told the City Council on Thursday if Rocky Mountain Power expands the substation in its current location, the redevelopment of Bonanza Park would not occur as envisioned. That, he said, would not be best for Park City. Fischer also said he did not intend to hurt anyone as Bonanza Park is designed.
"We do have the greater good in mind," Fischer said.