Heavy machinery has started moving dirt at a development site in Thaynes Canyon just of S.R. 224. Frank Richards, a longtime Park City landowner, is
Heavy machinery has started moving dirt at a development site in Thaynes Canyon just of S.R. 224. Frank Richards, a longtime Park City landowner, is pursuing the project. Horses continue to graze close to the work. Jay Hamburger/Park Record

A longtime Park City landowner is pursuing a development on acreage along the S.R. 224 entryway, a highly visible piece of ground that sits close to one of City Hall's prized conservation purchases.

Frank Richards has owned the Thaynes Canyon property since 1975. It is held in a family trust, according to City Hall report issued in 2013 as the owner was seeking the development approval. He has used the land as a horse farm. The development site includes some of the ground where he has grazed horses over the years. Richards said in an interview the timing of the development coincides with his estate planning. The project is known as Thaynes Creek Ranch Estates.

Richards said he will retain the land where he keeps his horses and the parcel where his house is located. An indoor riding arena is also located there. He anticipates continuing to have four or five horses on the parcel. Richards has primarily bred and raised cutting horses.

Richards and City Hall in 2013 annexed a little more than 33 acres of land into the Park City limits as part of the same application. The Richards portion of the annexation included the development site while the City Hall acreage involved in the annexation is open space purchased from Richards more than a decade ago in a conservation deal.

Kirsten Whetstone, a City Hall planner assigned to the current development project, said one house is under construction. The house will be on a new street that will be called Country Lane. It will be a private street built to serve the project. The street is under construction. The development will be built on both Country Lane and Payday Drive.

Richards said the house that is under construction is on a parcel that he sold. He said he is selling the lots and construction could start on another house by the middle of June.

Whetstone said the overall project could involve as many as six new houses. One existing house is also considered to be in the development. Four of the houses could be horse properties, she said.

Crews are installing infrastructure to the development site, including water lines, sewer lines and electricity. Drivers on busy S.R. 224 have undoubtedly seen the work on Thaynes Creek Ranch Estates.

Heavy machinery was seen at the site on Monday and there is orange construction fences posted at some locations on the property. Mounds of dirt were also visible on Monday. A lone horse could be seen grazing from Payday Drive.

Annexations are some of the most significant planning and zoning decisions made by City Hall, and they require votes by the Park City Planning Commission and the Park City Council. The annexation that involved the Richards land, though, was not closely watched by Parkites. The annexation was seen as preferable to leaving the land in unincorporated Summit County since the acreage abuts a Park City neighborhood.

The project continues a strong rebound in development inside Park City since the depths of the recession. Building permits have been issued at a solid pace for new houses, additions and major renovations in the last few years. It has been rare, though, for a single project inside Park City to involve as many as six houses. There are a dwindling number of development sites in the city that could hold that many.