Golf course plan would omit Griswold piece | ParkRecord.com

Golf course plan would omit Griswold piece

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

A decision today from the Summit County Commission could determine if a golf course is built at The Canyons.

A development agreement between American Skiing Company, the parent company to The Canyons, required the company to have the course completed at the resort in 2002.

But with American Skiing Company, a publicly traded company, slated to dissolve, the future of an 18-hole course at The Canyons is in doubt.

As legal wrangling continues to mire development at the resort, the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission in May approved a plan for the golf course that could eliminate property owned by Wolf Mountain Resorts from the project. Wolf Mountain and American Skiing Co. are currently entwined in litigation that began last year when Wolf Mountain officials, who lease ski terrain to American Skiing Co. at The Canyons, attempted to end the lease claiming ASC was in default.

The final decision on whether the original plan for the course will change could be made by the Summit County Commission June 27 in an afternoon public hearing slated at the Sheldon Richins Building at Kimball Junction.

"ASC has chosen to suspend pursuit of platting for development parcels associated with their rights under the [agreement] on land owned by Wolf Mountain until [negotiation and litigation] between these two parties is resolved," a staff report by Summit County Planning Director Michael Barille states.

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But Wolf Mountain fulfilled its obligations last year when the group agreed to convey land for the course that included wetlands, open space and trails, said Kenny Griswold, managing partner for Wolf Mountain.

As a result of the conveyance, Summit County dropped a lawsuit it had filed against Wolf Mountain, Griswold said.

Now officials at American Skiing Company want to exclude Wolf Mountain from the plan to construct a "substandard golf course," Griswold said.

"It changed the golf course from what Mr. Griswold considered acceptable, to being substandard," said Paul Peters, an attorney for Wolf Mountain, about the new proposal.

Installing four par 3 holes is "totally unconventional" for a course slated to be "world class," Peters explained.

But Tim Vetter, a vice president at The Canyons, insisted Peters is not qualified to make such a claim.

"Wolf Mountain has not done everything it needs to, to get the golf course," Vetter said, adding that the group must still provide land for the project.

Meanwhile, creating more off-season amenities like a golf course at The Canyons would help the resort function as a year-round destination, according to Barille.

Financing, however, must be in place and landowners at The Canyons must contribute land to the project before course construction can begin.

Changing the development agreement at the resort could situate a par 3 hole farther east near the corner of Canyons Resort Drive and State Road 224. The new plan could mean a dispute between Wolf Mountain and American Skiing Company won’t further delay development.

Approval of the proposed changes to the golf course could mean construction could begin in 2008, according to JoAnne Nadalin, director of The Canyons Resort Village Management Association, the group helping to oversee course construction.