City Hall-Boyer partnership wins endorsement for Quinn’s project
August 20, 2010
City Hall and its Quinn’s Junction development partner, The Boyer Company, earlier in August won an important endorsement of Park City Heights, the project the two sides want to build close to one of the corners of the U.S. 40-S.R. 248 interchange.
The Park City Planning Commission, though, cast a split vote, 4-2, as it determined that the overall development blueprints work within City Hall’s General Plan, an overarching document that guides growth. Planning Commissioners Adam Strachan and Richard Luskin cast the dissenting votes.
The development partnership must eventually return to the Planning Commission for more detailed discussions and hearings. The split vote could foreshadow a difficult round of talks with the Planning Commission later, as City Hall and The Boyer Company seek the approvals needed to start the development. The next round of talks has not been scheduled.
The partnership is an unusual teaming of City Hall with a private-sector developer, and some rank and-file Parkites seemed indignant when the deal to develop the land together was announced in late 2009, at a cost of $5.5 million to City Hall.
The partnership has 286 acres of land at the southwest corner of Quinn’s Junction, on Park City’s S.R. 248 entryway. City Hall annexed the land as part of the development talks. The partnership wants to build up to 239 units — 160 that would be sold at market rates and 79 that would be put into the work force housing pool.
The possibility of providing that large a bloc of worker housing — far more on a percentage basis than a typical development — largely spurred City Hall to enter into the partnership. The work force housing also will include units put up for The Boyer Company and hospital builder Intermountain Healthcare. City Hall has for years seen itself as one of the area’s chief supporters of work force housing, arguing the community is better off if it is made up of people of various means.
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Planning Commissioners touched on a range of issues prior to casting the affirmative vote, including a desire that the project layout mix the work force housing with the market-rate units and the importance of the building designs since Park City Heights is planned for one of the entryways.
Some of the other comments from members of the panel included Charlie Wintzer saying Park City Heights should have many attributes of a self-contained community, including some commercial outlets and playing fields for kids, and Julia Pettit mentioning that office space could perhaps be incorporated into the plans to allow some people who live in Park City Heights to work close to their homes.
But Strachan worried about the size of the development and its location in the vicinity of where City Hall has bought large expanses of land for conservation purposes.
"That’s not an open space buffer," Strachan said, referring to City Hall’s long-running strategy of protecting entryway land from development.
Nobody testified during a hearing held before the Planning Commission vote. There has been little interest from Parkites since the original partnership was revealed. The land is situated well away from neighborhoods.
City Hall staffers had recommended the Planning Commission find Park City Heights in tune with the General Plan.
The Planning Commission and others curious about Park City Heights visited the site before the meeting, taking a brief tour of the land and learning where different aspects of the project would be situated. Some of the people on the tour included Park City Councilors Liza Simpson and Alex Butwinski. Two developers with interests elsewhere in Park City also attended — Mike Sweeney, whose family is engaged in long-running discussions with City Hall about its Treasure land on a hillside overlooking Old Town, and Mark J. Fischer, who has significant holdings in the Bonanza Park district.
In a prepared statement, Phyllis Robinson, City Hall’s spokesperson and one of the staffers involved in work force housing issues, said she expects discussions about the project will restart with the Planning Commission Sept. 22. She said City Hall is pleased with the panel’s decision and the discussions thus far have been "productive."