Air Force wants hotel at Quinn’s Junction
April 24, 2009
Despite statements from the military that reject The Canyons as a future hotel site, elected officials in Summit County, who are desperate to stop the Air Force from building a resort at Quinn’s Junction, continue to push a parcel near State Road 224 for the controversial development.
This week, Department of Defense officials reaffirmed their support for building the hotel at Quinn’s Junction, the sagebrush-lined east entrance into Park City.
On Friday, local officials toured the Snyderville Basin with members of the Military Installation Development Authority, a civilian group considering the hotel project in Park City.
"We have certainly been in conversations with the Air Force for some time about the possibility of meeting their needs for a rest and recreation facility," deputy Summit County attorney Jami Brackin told members of the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission April 14. "Nothing has been decided yet."
By combining lots near the cabriolet at The Canyons local officials hope to pave the way for the Air Force to build a 185,000-square-foot hotel with about 250 rooms.
"That’s the maximum that could be built on that site So whoever comes in and acquires that parcel is going to be restricted by those limitations," Brackin said.
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The military aims to replace an Air Force ski lodge that was demolished at Snowbasin about a dozen years ago.
Past proposals from the military, however, have been for the Air Force to partner with a private developer to build a mega-resort at Quinn’s Junction with more than 600 hotel rooms. The private hotel operator would likely use about 30 percent of the rooms for providing vacation discounts to soldiers.
"We have spent the last couple of years working with Summit County on [The Canyons] site. We hired a recreational facility developer to study the site and also employed an independent consultant to conduct and in-depth analysis of this parcel," military officials said Wednesday in an e-mail to The Park Record. "The results were presented to the Air Force and the Air Force determined this site would not work for our facility."
Meanwhile, when the development agreement was approved at The Canyons more than a decade ago, in exchange for some building rights, landowners who were required to provide open space in their projects, instead gave resort property to Summit County.
"It was difficult to meet all the open-space requirements, so what the developers proposed at the time was rather than giving open space to the county, what they would do is give the county buildable, commercial lots which we would then sell and use the proceeds to buy open space," Brackin said.
By combining its development rights at The Canyons, Summit County created a building parcel to provide the military.
But Basin resident Roger Osguthorpe said he was against combining the lots.
"From what I gather, the purpose of this transfer is for the Air Force to build a hotel," said Osguthorpe, whose family owns land at The Canyons. "Who knows what size and what’s going to come out of that? We just don’t know what’s going to happen."
Military officials informed the county in writing Jan. 9 that they are not interested in building at The Canyons.
The Air Force says local politicians were invited to participate in talks about a mixed-use development at Quinn’s Junction, which could include a hotel and motion-picture studio.
"Once a site is selected, we will build our business model based on market conditions and the projected development," military officials said in a prepared statement earlier this month. "Since there are no (Department of Defense) funds available for the project development costs and expenses must come from private-sector financing."
Military officials have discussed partnering with the Quinn’s Junction Partnership, which owns land near the east entrance into Park City, to build the hotel there.
But local officials, who oppose the plan, say State Road 248 at Quinn’s is already congested and planners intended for most of that area to remain as open space.