City Hall approves Talisker housing
July 15, 2008
Empire Pass developer Talisker Corp. has secured a City Hall approval to build a work force housing project in upper Old Town, an important step as the firm continues its bid to satisfy Park City officials who have previously challenged Talisker’s schedule for the worker housing.
The Planning Commission unanimously approved the project, commending the developer for redesigning the housing after previous blueprints encountered resistance. There was little discussion before the recent vote, and nobody testified during a hearing just beforehand.
The approval allows 10 houses at 100 Marsac Ave. The 2.2-acre parcel sits close to a row of houses on the other side of the street.
Planning Commissioners struggled with the development for a time, but they and Talisker later forged an agreement. The developer initially wanted to build 20 units in 10 duplexes. The number and sort of units, though, was whittled down during the talks with the Planning Commission, resulting in the 10 houses that were approved.
Members of the Planning Commission were pleased with the efforts of Talisker, complimenting the developer as they indicated they favored the project.
"It’s extraordinary," said Rory Murphy, a Planning Commissioner who once was an executive with United Park City Mines, the firm that shepherded Empire Pass through its first set of City Hall approvals before Talisker assuming control of the project.
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Other Planning Commissioners, including Charlie Wintzer and Evan Russack, indicated they were pleased with the negotiations. Wintzer commended neighbors for being interested in the talks. Russack said the project that was approved is improved from Talisker’s first designs.
Talisker must return to City Hall for additional approvals before construction can start. Brooks Robinson, the City Hall planner who wrote a report in favor of the project that was submitted to the Planning Commission, said the local government must review the detailed designs and must approve construction on what is considered a steep slope, among other approvals.
Before Talikser lopped off units from the original proposal, first dropping to 12 before cutting two more off the project, people who live along the Marsac Avenue corridor were unhappy with the blueprints.
During a June hearing, the Planning Commission took testimony from people who worried about the development looking bland and said there was already too much construction in the neighborhood.
People who live along the Marsac Avenue corridor, which is part of the state highway system, have long been displeased with the amount of traffic.
Talisker in recent months has aggressively pursued work force projects, a result of a dispute between itself and City Hall, which said the developer had not built the worker housing in a timely enough fashion.
The company is pursuing work force housing elsewhere as well, including a sizable project at Quinn’s Junction that is part of a larger work force development.