Developer upsets Deer Valley homeowners
A developer has upset homeowners in a tucked-away section of a Deer Valley neighborhood, spurring a dispute about a long-planned slopeside project.
Neighbors and the developer faced each other on Wednesday night in front of the Park City Planning Commission. The panel was not scheduled to make significant decisions about the project, known as the North Silver Lake Lodge, but the meeting shows a rift remains between the developer and the neighbors almost six years after a first iteration of a project at the location was approved.
The developers– a Los Angeles firm called Regent Properties — want to build 53 residential units on about six acres off Silver Lake Drive. It would be put on the slopes of Deer Valley Resort, with blueprints showing the project just off the resort’s Last Chance run and the developer also saying it is off of the Silver Dollar run.
Kelly Peart, an executive with the development firm, said he envisions building townhouses, duplexes and condominiums on the property, 7101 North Silver Lake Drive. Regent Properties has held the land since mid-2007, he said, describing the parcel as having spectacular views and a sought-after Deer Valley location.
He calls the development proposal a "good compromise" for the land. But people who live nearby or own vacation properties close to the land are leery of the project. Some testified on Wednesday night, and others have sent letters to City Hall describing their unhappiness.
The critics claim the development does not fit the site, they worried about trees being chopped down and said the project could attract too much traffic. The complaints resemble those that many developers in Park City face when in front of the Planning Commission.
"Fewer units would solve the problem," Brad Wilson, who lives in the Evergreen subdivision on Silver Lake Drive, said in an interview after the hearing, adding, "Get rid of some of them, thin it down."
He said the developer’s acreage is highly visible, making the talks with the Planning Commission important to Parkites who live outside the immediate neighborhood. Wilson said the development could be seen from vantages on Main Street and toward Holiday Village.
"Every place in Old Town, you can see it from. It’s front-and-center Deer Valley," Wilson said, predicting the development would be the most visible project at Deer Valley.
Wilson, though, acknowledged the developers have engaged the neighbors in talks. Peart disputes claims that the project will be visible from afar.
Many of the letter writers supported the testimony from the neighbors, with nearby owners also claiming the buildings in the development will be too tall. Some of the comments in the letters include:
"I am particularly concerned that this project will destroy the mature trees that surround the area. Once mature trees are cut down, it will take years and years to replace them. I would like to see a development that maximizes the preservation of the mature trees that surround the project." — Eleanor Padnick
"I strongly object to the density and the height of the proposed units. I believe my property’s views would be hindered, and I believe it would also spoil the general view of the area if there were condo buildings of 50 feet in height." — Tom Werner
"Surrounding usage should be compatible. This use is incompatible with the surrounding homes and will create a hardship for the existing residents. There should be some rationale for the development other than it is a vacant lot." — John and Nancy Williams
Previous developers had secured an approval similar to the one the current owners are seeking. In a report to the Planning Commission, City Hall staffers describe almost seven years of movement by developers on the land, including an idea in 2006 to build a Ritz-Carlton Club at the site.
Some Planning Commissioners on Wednesday were suspect, with Rory Murphy urging the developers to keep trees standing and saying the blueprints were unimaginative. Dick Peek, another Planning Commissioner, said he wants a better idea of how the development will look from key vantages, including the bottom of Main Street. He worried about the trees as well.
The panel is tentatively scheduled to hold more talks about the project on Aug. 27.
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