It’ll be a ‘no-go’ if Basin people are someday asked to help fund Treasure deal
August 27, 2010
If City Hall and the Sweeney family negotiate some sort of conservation deal for all or part of the family’s Treasure acreage, Park City officials will then need to come up with the money to finance the agreement, likely through a ballot measure.
One funding source that City Hall should probably forget, if there ever was an inkling of it being available, is assistance from taxpayers who live in the Snyderville Basin. Although Park City leaders and the County Courthouse have partnered on other conservation deals, it appears that there is not much interest from Summit County or the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District at this point in putting money toward a deal for the Treasure land.
The idea of a joint purchase between Park City and either the Snyderville Basin recreation district or the County Courthouse has apparently not been discussed at an official level. Chatter about the idea among Parkites or people in the Basin has not been publicized if it has even occurred.
A City Hall negotiating team has been meeting privately with representatives from the Sweeney family as they try to reach an accord. The two sides have closely guarded the discussions and had not released substantive information by the beginning of the week.
Some inside Park City might see a conservation deal for the Treasure land as being beneficial to surrounding Summit County since a high-profile hillside would be either partially or completely protected from development. They might also argue that a conservation agreement would cut the traffic in Summit County since people traveling to the site would need to drive through the county to reach the site.
But people in Summit County, particularly in the Basin, which would be seen as the most likely City Hall partner if there ever were to be talks, would almost certainly oppose any sort of deal that would send their tax dollars into a conservation deal inside the Park City limits.
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People who live in the Snyderville Basin recreation district in November will vote on a ballot measure to raise $25 million for conservation purchases and trail improvements, with most of the money to be earmarked for the land buys if the measure passes.
Ron Perry, the chairman of the recreation district, said the money could not be spent on a Treasure deal if the bond passes. He said nobody has mentioned the idea to him. The money that would be raised from the ballot measure would need to be spent within the boundaries of the recreation district, which encompasses the West Side of Summit County outside the Park City limits.
"We would have no authority to buy property in Park City proper . . . That is just a no-go," Perry said, adding, "I don’t see that being a viable option."
He wonders about the benefits of a Treasure conservation deal to neighborhoods within the recreation district like Jeremy Ranch, Summit Park, Silver Springs and Pinebrook.
"If people were to vote on a bond, they would probably prefer to buy a piece of property in the district," Perry said.
City Hall and Summit County since 2007 have partnered on two major conservation deals, with the land including parcels at Kimball Junction, along the S.R. 224 entryway and in Round Valley. The total price tag reached nearly $30 million. There was not organized resistance from rank-and-file Parkites or people in Summit County when those deals were inked.
The idea of a partnership on a Treasure deal, though, would likely not be as well accepted in the Snyderville Basin. Many people there might see a deal as not being worthwhile given its location on a hillside above Old Town. The other joint deals involved properties on or close to the Park City entryways, areas that both people inside Park City and in the Snyderville Basin generally see as worthy of protection.
Summit County Councilwoman Claudia McMullin, the chairperson of the County Council and a Basin resident, acknowledged that a Treasure conservation deal would benefit the West Side as a whole and left open the possibility of someday talking to City Hall "about what we could do to help."
The effects of a development at the Treasure site would stretch to the Basin, she said, contending "the more dense, the more traffic." But McMullin, like Perry, said money that would be generated from the passage of the November ballot measure would not be spent on land inside Park City.
"The $25 million is not to buy Treasure," she said. "It’s to buy property in the Basin."
A $28.9 million partnership
City Hall and Summit County have partnered on two major conservation purchases since 2007, cooperation that both sides say led to protections on coveted parcels of land.