Colby School applicants request a decision on their project in December
The applicants for a hotel project at the former Colby School property along the east side of State Road 224 requested on Nov. 14 that the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission make a final decision on the project next month, nearly two years after an application was first submitted.
During the nearly two hour-discussion, planning commissioners asked the applicants to once again go over the mitigation measures they are proposing for the project, which has been a point of contention. Commissioner Chuck Klingenstein also requested additional information about traffic impacts and any traffic analyses that have been completed.
Residents at a February hearing raised concerns over the project’s potential impact on noise, traffic and lighting, among other issues. Most said they “aren’t against development here, just not of this size.” The Colby School is in a rural residential zone and is surrounded by the Park West Village, Brookside Estates and Two Creeks Ranch neighborhoods.
In 2014, the former Colby School/Snowed Inn property was acquired by Emma Worsley and Julie McBroom. The native Australians have lived in Park City for more than five years and planned to develop the site as a wellness center. Summit County originally approved the Snowed Inn and related uses as a Class II development in August of 1985, according to a county staff report.
The 1998 Development Code allowed for a change of use in the existing building from a hotel to a school, and it operated as a school until 2008, the report states, adding “This project is unique, in that it is located in a mostly residential neighborhood and has an entitlement from a process that does no longer exist in the county Development Code.”
Brooke Hontz, president of Daly Summit Consulting and representative of the applicants, said they have placed a significant amount of effort on identifying the appropriate measures to mitigate those concerns to appease the Commission and those in the three surrounding neighborhoods.
Hontz said a list of mitigation measures was presented to the Planning Commission after consulting feedback from commissioners and neighbors.
“Going back to this tonight gives me a little bit of pause because I thought we had gone through this,” she said. “We have always tried to come with an application that we thought met the requirements from the county’s attorney and the feedback we got from you. We are trying to do what you are asking so we can deliver.”
Several iterations of the project have been presented to the Planning Commission after an original 55-room hotel proposal was rejected. The project still shows a 42-room hotel, a 5,000-square-foot restaurant, plus yoga and fitness studios. It would include the renovation of the existing building, in addition to the construction of an attached multi-use building, demolition of the small accessory buildings on the site and expansion of the existing parking area to accommodate 130 spaces.
While the project has been scaled back to include fewer rooms, the Planning Commission determined in August that the only number of hotel rooms allowed on the site is 15 or less. The applicants requested that commissioners clarify their decision on Tuesday, hoping that more than 15 rooms could be allowed with additional mitigation.
“After three years, I think our applicants ought to be able to expand the business in a reasonable fashion,” Commissioner Bea Peck said. “That is a property that needs updating and I think we do have the ability to expand that. I think that with more hotel rooms, I don’t know what the number is, but I think that would rest upon how successful your mitigation really could be.”
Peck said she would be comfortable with the applicants expanding the business. She added, “I think the other uses are within scale.”
“I think any hotel, whether you call it small, medium or large, is meant to attract businesses, events and customers other than just sticking them in the rooms,” she said.
However, only Peck and Commissioner Joel Fine felt comfortable with allowing more than 15 rooms. The decision was made to follow the original determination.
Peck sympathized with the applicants. She said, “You mean we’ve been moving the finish line?”
“I’m saying that I think we have been,” she said. “I don’t think it has been done out of ill will. We’ve had turnover and it’s a lot to grasp. I’ll say I feel like we’ve, through no fault of our own, have done some disservice and I hope tonight we have given some additional clarity.”
The project has been scheduled for a public hearing with the potential for a decision on Dec. 12.
The proposed site plan still shows a hotel with 42 rooms. The applicant will need to modify the proposed site plan from the current design to one with 15 rooms or less, according to a staff report.
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S.R. 224 will fail in five years if no improvements are made, even if there is no more growth at the base area, according to an engineer.