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Decision delayed on Sun Peak hotel

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Summit County commissioners made it clear to developers Wednesday they would allow a hotel and only a hotel to be built on a parcel of land in Sun Peak.

The Chicago firm Terrace Development Partners has proposed constructing a 275,000 square-foot hotel and condominium project with 326 rooms south of Bear Hollow Drive about a mile from S.R. 224. The project is reportedly larger than Tanger Outlet Center and Redstone Towne Center.

But many Sun Peak residents are against the plan. Opponents say the neighborhood is no longer the front door for Utah Olympic Park and has lost much of its initial commercial character.

"It’s a single-family neighborhood and it doesn’t feel right to have a hotel there," Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott said.

A hotel, however, has been contemplated in Sun Peak since the early 1990s.

But when Summit County commissioners granted preliminary approval for the project in 2001 they envisioned it having 140 rooms, with no lockouts and 140 bathrooms, Elliott said.

"It’s not 140 enormous condominium units it’s 140 bedrooms," she said, adding, "I don’t see anything huge."

Language in the 2001 approval, however, isn’t clear about whether a "room" can be defined as a one-bedroom or five-bedroom unit, Haft says. He wouldn’t comment after Wednesday’s meeting in Coalville.

"There’s a lot of ambiguity in this thing, regardless of what opponents and proponents say," Summit County Commission chair Bob Richer said. "This project of 140 rooms, needs to walk and quack like a hotel."

At Haft’s request, the Summit County Commission delayed a decision this week while the developer seeks legal guidance. No date was scheduled for discussion on the item to resume.

"Frankly, all of this is kind of taking us by surprise," Haft said, adding that he would need to redesign a smaller building. "What we resubmit is obviously going to be very, very different."

After acknowledging that Haft’s current application for more than 300 rooms does not comply with the county’s interpretation of the 2001 approval, Richer offered the developer an "up or down vote" on the development application. Instead, the decision was delayed.

"We have certainly made it clear our intents here. We are unanimously saying to you, it’s a 140-room hotel," Richer told Haft. "Your application as it stands does not conform."

According to Summit County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme, Haft has the right to construct mostly single hotel rooms. But five percent of the 140 units can be "suite style" with a separate bedroom.

Should Haft pursue subdividing the property, instead of a hotel he could perhaps build six residential lots on the land, Summit County Community Development Director Nora Shepard said, adding, "it’s an option that could be pursued."

"Any new application that is filed would have to comply with the current development code," deputy Summit County attorney Jami Brackin said.

Though a bill could be discussed at the Utah Legislature that could make it possible for a hotel to be constructed at Utah Olympic Park, Shepard said any proposal at UOP would be a separate application also regulated by the current Snyderville Basin Development Code.

"It think it would be very tough to put a major hotel [at the Olympic Park]," Shepard said. "It’s a tight site and I don’t know if it would work."


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