Guv signs controversial hotel bill
April 3, 2009
Gov. Jon Huntsman signed a controversial bill this week that might pave the way for development of a movie studio and one of Utah’s largest hotels at Quinn’s Junction.
Senate Bill 216, sponsored by state Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Lehi, could allow builders to bypass strict local zoning codes to build a recreation facility for the U.S. Air Force on a nearly 30-acre parcel at the junction of U.S. 40 and State Road 248.
Elected officials in Summit County said they wanted Huntsman to veto the legislation. Instead, the governor attached a strongly worded statement to his approval of SB 216 that addresses some of their concerns.
"Summit County and Park City have a unique style and brand. The general area is one that attracts visitors and [homeowners] from around the world," Huntsman states in a letter addressed to Stuart Adams, chairman of the Military Installation Development Authority.
Strict zoning and protection of open space and trails help make Park City unique, Huntsman and state Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack state in the letter.
"Additionally, we want to make it clear that Quinn Junction is not an appropriate site for the type of development heretofore discussed," the letter states. "This area is a gateway to the Park City community and should be protected."
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Local authorities have stalled development of a military hotel in Park City, according to Madsen, the sponsor of SB 216.
The legislation allows the Air Force to cooperate with private landowners to build recreation facilities. Purportedly one of the largest independent film companies in the United States, Raleigh Studios and Raleigh Entertainment, is interested in developing a movie studio at Quinn’s Junction alongside the proposed 800-room military hotel.
By comparison, The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City has about 775 rooms and the Grand Summit Hotel at The Canyons has about 356.
Raleigh Studios hopes to cooperate with Quinn’s Junction Partnership, a landowner at Quinn’s, to build the facility near the east entrance into Park City, according to Raleigh Studios President Michael Moore.
But the massive studio and hotel plan does not comply with zoning rules at Quinn’s Junction.
"If possible, the location selected shall be consistent with the local general plan and the ultimate structure should not detract from the area in which it is built," Huntsman states in his letter about the project.