The Canyons needs a golf course
July 21, 2009
A plan to build a golf course at The Canyons could move forward with a report from Summit County July 30.
Interim Summit County Manager Brian Bellamy expects to release a set of findings detailing the reasons a golf course was not completed at The Canyons seven years ago. Landowners cooperated in the late 1990s to form The Canyons Specially Planned Area, which envisioned an 18-hole course and millions of square feet of commercial and residential space at the base of the ski resort.
"Everyone said they wanted it. It’s just a matter of getting heads together to make it happen," Bellamy said.
Squabbling among some stakeholders has delayed construction of the golf course, which American Skiing Company, the former owner of The Canyons, originally agreed to complete several years ago. The Toronto-based Talisker Corp. development firm, which recently purchased The Canyons from American Skiing Company, must now fulfill those terms of the development agreement, according to county officials.
Bellamy said he has met with Talisker officials, since a public hearing in June, to brainstorm ways to jumpstart construction of the golf course at The Canyons.
"We want to find out what it’s going to take to get the golf course going," Bellamy said in a telephone interview.
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Officials hope the course will elevate The Canyons into a four-season resort.
But construction delays have already cost builders in the Snyderville Basin millions, deputy Summit County attorney David Thomas explained.
"There are a lot of people racking up tons of costs," Thomas said. "Some may go bankrupt."
Crews have been unable to break ground on the golf course because of disputes between landowners in the Willow Draw and Lower Village areas of the resort, Thomas said in a telephone interview.
Landowner Joseph Krofcheck says he needs an easement for a roadway to access his property to develop in Willow Draw before he agrees to contribute land needed for the golf course, Thomas explained.
Krofcheck owns more than 12 acres in the Willow Draw area and about three acres in the Lower Village area of the The Canyons, Krofcheck attorney Steven Peterson said at the hearing in June.
"He’s been somewhat a casualty of this whole process," Peterson said about Krofcheck, who is in his 70s. "He is very, very supportive of golf. He just wants to see it go forward."
As a party to The Canyons Specially Planned Area, which brought together roughly 25 property owners, Krofcheck is entitled to build about 180,000 square-feet of development at the resort, Peterson explained.
But for him to access his land Krofcheck says Wolf Mountain Resorts must provide him an easement, according to Thomas.
"There is still discussion from [The Canyons] as to whether they could provide [the easement] or not," Thomas said.
Operators of The Canyons lease property for the ski resort from Wolf Mountain Resorts Managing Partner Kenny Griswold.
Instead of needing approval from Griswold, however, the lease might allow The Canyons to give the easement to Krofcheck, which could clear the way for course construction by bypassing Wolf Mountain Resorts if Krofcheck then conveys his land that is needed for the golf course, Thomas said.
"We’d work with Wolf. We’d work with the county. We just want to get this done so this torturous 12-year waiting period could be concluded," Peterson said.
Meanwhile, it is unclear whether The Canyons Resort Village Management Association, which is overseeing construction of the golf course, has secured financing for the project. Despite claims from other landowners, Wolf Mountain Resorts attorney Paul Peters said actions by his client have not blocked construction of the course.
"There is nothing keeping the [Resort Village Management Association] and [The Canyons] from starting the golf course today," Peters said at the hearing in June.