Homeowners sue to stop hotel
A group of homeowners in the Snyderville Basin sued a firm that hopes to build a hotel west of State Road 224 in Sun Peak.
Because the Summit County Board of Adjustment dealt a key defeat to the Sun Peak Homeowners Association in the development fight, the 8-page lawsuit filed by the group against the hotel builder wants the board’s decision overturned.
"The [Board of Adjustment’s] decision greatly exceeded the authority granted to it by the state Legislature," the lawsuit that was filed in Third District Court March 9 states.
In 1994 the original developer of Sun Peak envisioned a 140-room hotel in the neighborhood. Neighbors have since wrangled with the new developer over the intent of the first builder.
By preliminarily approving the project in 2001 the Summit County Commission restricted the building to 140 motel-style bedrooms, homeowners in Sun Peak claim.
The new developer disagrees. But the county rejected his plan to construct a 326-room hotel/condominium complex.
The homeowners say the county’s Board of Adjustment didn’t have the authority last month to extend the deadline for Terrace Development Partners to re-apply.
"We were very surprised," said Bruce Shapiro, an attorney who represents the Sun Peak Homeowners Association.
"We might be having to start all over again."
The Snyderville Basin Development Code "prevents the re-filing of an application for a period of one year, unless it is established that the new application is materially different than the previous one," the lawsuit states.
"You’re probably all off to Third District Court anyway," Board of Adjustment member Tom Clyde joked before voting recently against the homeowners association.
But Sun Peak residents, who Shapiro insists are not against development, aren’t amused.
"They just want it to be something that would be compatible with the neighborhood," the attorney said.
Because the agreement that granted development rights for the hotel no longer exists, the decision from the Board of Adjustment allows Terrace Development to "file under something that’s expired," he said.
"The party’s over," Shapiro said. "The homeowners just want to get it done because the majority of people would agree that this doesn’t belong there."
Drivers no longer use Bear Hollow Drive to access the Utah Olympic Park as they did in the 1990s when building the so-called Sun Canyon Lodge might have made sense in the area, the project’s critics claim.
"This was all before the Olympics so everybody had Olympic fever," Shapiro explained. "Times have changed. It just doesn’t belong."
Before the application was rejected, the County Commission allowed Terrace Development Partners an opportunity to reduce the size of the project.
"[The developer] said ‘we want an up or down decision,’" Shapiro said about the builder’s refusal to change his design. "They made their own bed and now they have to lie in it."
By denying the project commissioners attempted to limit the building to 140 ‘Motel 6’-style rooms, attorney Bruce Baird said for Terrace Development Partners.
The decision from the Board of Adjustment means the builder can submit an application for permits to construct a hotel in Sun Peak with fewer than 300 rooms, he added.
"The new application is likely to be submitted very shortly in full compliance with the Board of Adjustment’s very intelligent directives," Baird said.
Attempts by the homeowners to prevent the application from being submitted for several months are "absurd," he added.
The developer this week had not responded to the case in court.
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Hotel occupancy in the Park City area during Sundance is projected to drop dramatically from a typical year as organizers shift the event online.