Tensions high at hearings on Canyons maintenance building
April 11, 2014
In what has been a long and arduous process of attempting to relocate the ski maintenance building at Canyons Resort, Summit County Manager Bob Jasper decided to hear from both sides of the debate over the facility’s proposed location on Canyons Resort Drive.
Two hearings were held on the maintenance building at 2 and 6 p.m. at the Sheldon Richins Building where Jasper heard from the master developer at Canyons Resort, TCFC Finance Co., LLC, and numerous residents and condominium owners, many of whom were displeased with the proposed location, which was given a negative recommendation by the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission.
The proposed location on Canyons Resort Drive is between the Grand Summit Hotel and the Hidden Creek Condominiums, with the first phase of the building to encompass 18,360 square feet. The current structure on Frostwood Drive is supposed to be dismantled by June in order to comply with the Jasper’s order that the Canyons Golf Course be finished by Sept. 30.
Spencer White, VP of Development with TCFC, presented most of the project’s information at the hearings.
"The primary reason we’re moving [the existing] building is for completion of the [Canyons] Golf Course," White said. "A ski maintenance facility within a resort is an allowed use in the SPA (Specially Planned Area) process."
White proceeded to go through all of the possible alternate locations where TCFC looked at building the facility. Most of them had similar issues located on too steep of a slope, no road access and close proximity to residential development.
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Bruce Jensen, an architect, spoke during public input, saying a maintenance building near the entrance of Canyons Resort would be a downgrading of the image of Park City. County resident Donna Van Buren said she the facility is wrong "in either location" and pointed out that the proposed location is supposed to be open space.
John Gardner, the developer of the soon-to-be-finished Wyndham Hotel near the old facility, said the current building has been "in [our] backyard here for too long."
"We make investments based off of people’s commitments and obligations," Gardner said. "We counted on that [space] being the green for Hole 11."
Attorney Joe Tesch and Doug Clyde, who was brought on by Tesch Law, expressed their concerns as well, as both represented hundreds of condominium owners in Canyons Resort’s Village Core zone.
Clyde made a lengthy presentation, laying out the location’s numerous violations.
Among Clyde’s concerns were: zoning violations, code violations (for setbacks to reservoirs, wetlands, etc.), apparent violation of the county noise ordinance and the fact that the building is "ski area" services as opposed to "skier" services, which would be allowed in the Resort Core.
There was discussion over whether a proposed retaining wall was 1) a structure and 2) whether it should be set back enough from a nearby wetland, which TCFC maintained is a detention pond for runoff.
Clyde said that, regardless of whether it is a wetland or detention pond, the reason for the setback is to protect water quality.
Regarding the noise ordinance, Tesch said the noise generated by the maintenance facility would create a sound equivalent to an alarm clock going off inside a Hidden Creek condominium "all night long."
"I’ve never been involved in a case where 1,000 owners are opposed to a project," Tesch said. "I think Canyons [Resort] wants to put [the facility] in the Resort Core because it’s cheap."
Since the greatest concern from those opposed to the facility was that it constitutes a zoning violation, Jasper asked Community Development Director Pat Putt a simple question: "Is placing a maintenance building on this property a violation of county zoning?"
Putt said he referred to numerous maps and land use tables and was not able to find where that use was spelled out, but said that in one table in the Canyons SPA Master Development Plan there was a provision that allowed 22,000 to 25,000 square feet to support "grooming fleet, lift maintenance, snowmaking facilities and ground equipment."
It was his understanding, Putt said, that a ski maintenance facility could be requested at that location.
After facing additional criticism that the facility should be located on-mountain, White responded.
"If there was a magical location on the mountain that was one-and-a-half acres, easily accessible with paved asphalt, we’d absolutely put it there," White said.
After hearing both sides, Jasper will go over his notes and said he expects to make a decision on the proposed location by next week.
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