Treasure opposition: project ‘completely infeasible’
April 1, 2014
The leader of the Treasure opposition group said on Monday the development is "completely infeasible," signaling that there are more questions now than prior to start of negotiations between City Hall and the Treasure partnership about shifting some of the project’s development rights elsewhere.
Brian Van Hecke, a cofounder of the Treasure Hill Impact Neighborhood Coalition, said in an interview the group is "disappointed in the result of the negotiations." He said the coalition was hopeful that a deal could be reached but not surprised one was not struck.
Park City officials last week announced the negotiations had collapsed. The talks had stretched from the spring of 2010. City Hall and the Treasure partnership had been in discussions about the possibility of moving half of the development rights attached to the Treasure acreage to another location. Several sites were under consideration. Van Hecke’s group had wanted an agreement reached to shift all of the development rights from the Treasure site itself to the base area of Park City Mountain Resort.
A representative of the Sweeney family — one of two partners owning the Treasure acreage — said last week a development approval would be aggressively sought with the end of the negotiations. The Treasure side intends to return to the Park City Planning Commission with the same project designs that Van Hecke’s group opposed, likely propelling the sides into a similar dispute as the one that transpired prior to the spring of 2010. The Treasure side and City Hall officials met last week to discuss upcoming steps.
"I feel like we’re right back where we started with the same impasse," Van Hecke said.
The opponents had deep-rooted concerns about the size of the development, the traffic it was expected to attract and the construction. The Treasure partnership, though, was confident in its plans, saying that the project fit as proposed. It seemed the Planning Commission at the time was preparing to cast a vote against the project. There has been turnover on the panel since then.
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The Treasure land overlooks Old Town along the route of the Town Lift. It is envisioned as upward of 1 million square feet of development — residential and commercial — on the slopes of PCMR.
The opposition was centered on streets like Empire Avenue, where Van Hecke lives, and the group has members from elsewhere in the area. There are approximately 450 people involved in the Treasure Hill Impact Neighborhood Coalition, he said.
In an email message to the group early in the week, Van Hecke provides an update about the situation.
"The project in our opinion was likely headed for a NO vote by the commissioners as there were significant unresolved and seemingly insurmountable issues regarding traffic, safety, massing and density," the message says. "Significant environmental/EPA issues concerning toxic soils on Treasure Hill were never even addressed."
The message, meanwhile, mentions the recent offer by Vail Resorts to buy PCMR’s base area and parking lots in an effort to settle a lawsuit centered on most of PCMR’s ski terrain.
"This may complicate the efforts to protect and preserve the landmark Treasure Hill," Van Hecke says in the message.