Letters to the Editor
A development project in the Sun Peak community has been submitted to the Summit County planning department without approval from our homeowners association and design review committee.
The current proposed hotel project is much larger than the original preliminary plans that were approved by the county planning commission. The original hotel project approved in 2001 was for 140 rooms with no lockouts totaling 140,000 square feet. The current hotel project proposed now by the new owners of the property is for 270,000 square feet, 140 units with approximately 370 bedrooms. The proposed hotel of 2005 does not meet the conditions of the conditional preliminary plan approval granted in 2001.
The current plan should be considered as a preliminary plan submission and should not be given final approval under the vested rights agreement. It is the opinion of the Sun Peak homeowners that a project of this size is not appropriate for our single-family community. Bear Hollow Drive, the road this development is on, was taken over from the state by Summit County in 2002. At that time, the road was deemed to be sub-standard for the existing residential community. It is difficult to understand how the road could accommodate the commercial traffic this project will generate. A project of this size and scope may have fitted in, when Sun Peak was originally platted in 1994.
The impact this project would have on the Sun Peak community and the citizens of surrounding communities would be dramatic. The amount of vehicular traffic on Bear Hollow Drive during construction and after completion would make walking and bicycling unsafe at best. Children going to the school bus stop would also be at risk. Placing large-scale commercial development in the heart of this community recreation area is at best ill advised.
Jeff Kaiser, president
Sun Peak Homeowners Association
Is KPCW relevant?
I was here when KPCW got started. My wife Paula was a classical deejay working out of the Memorial Building. Setting aside the issue of Blair’s salary, the larger issue is: Is public radio still viable? KPCW gives us, maybe, an hour every weekday morning devoted to issues of interest to Blair and then cuts to canned music that is mostly played at construction sites. This stuff can be heard anywhere; there is no longer anything unique about KPCW. Public radio was founded to fill a gap that no longer exists; the blogosphere contains every opinion on anything that anybody could envision. It is time to re-evaluate whether public radio is still relevant.
Thomas Hurd Park City
Public hearing needed
In 2001, a development group submitted an application to Summit County to build a 140,000-square-foot, 140-unit hotel on Bear Hollow Drive. Nothing unusual about this, as that particular use was listed as an option for that parcel, under a vested rights agreement, when Sun Peak was master planned back in 1994.
When the County Commission reviewed the ACTUAL building plans and realized that they showed a roughly 250,000-plus-square-foot building, with 280 units, they told the developer no thanks. In short they said go back to the drawing board, you can have 140 keys to 140 rooms. The developer never did.
Just recently in 2005, a new developer from Chicago, who had just bought the parcel, submitted plans for an equivalent building, with MORE bedrooms. The county planning staff has, for some reason, informed this builder that their plan is preliminarily approved, based on the previous developer’s plans and the 1994 vested rights agreement. Yes, the same plans that the commission shot down in 2001. And incidentally, the 1994 vested rights agreement expired on Aug. 15, 2004. When the Sun Peak Homeowners Association raised some questions, they were told by the developer, sorry, this is all done. The developer explained that the county had told them they were good to go based on the previous approval. That’s all great, except there is no previous approval. It appears county staff may have jumped the gun a bit, but as of the writing of this letter there were no plans to have another public meeting to review this building.
Arguments for and against a project of this size both have merits. But, they must be aired in public. The people of Summit County deserve to know about every large commercial undertaking. Especially when it sits in the middle of a residential community with no other commercial development within eyesight.
Where is the public’s due process? I sincerely hope it will occur in the form of a Summit County Commission meeting to review this situation.
John Renola Park City
This letter is intend to clarify a previous article that appeared in the Nov. 7, 2005 Tribune newspaper. Whereby plans for a 275,000-square-foot condominium were submitted to the Summit County Planning Department for approval on Bear Hollow Drive in the Sun Peak community.
Hamlet Homes, builder of Bear Hollow Village, located along S.R. 224, is not associated with any development activity along Bear Hollow Drive. Bear Hollow Drive is located outside of the Bear Hollow Village, further south along S.R. 224 in the Sun Peak community.
David Irwin VP Sales and Marketing Hamlet Homes
What does a 140,000-square-foot hotel project have in common with a 275,000-square-foot hotel/condominium development on the same land parcel? A reasonable person might conclude that a doubling of the residential space, combined with an increase from 3 to 5 stories and a 50 percent reduction in the open space, on the same land parcel, constituted a major change in scope and intent of the project. However, this is exactly the opposite of what the developers of the proposed "Sun Canyon Lodge" on Bear Hollow Road in Sun Peak would have us believe.
Terrace Development Partners of Chicago are claiming that their new vision is consistent with a previous proposal, which had received preliminary approval from the Summit County Planning Commission and the Sun Peak Home Owners Association Design Review Committee. Their argument being that the proposed number of "units" has not changed. The fact that each unit is now twice the size, allowing a potential doubling of the overnight guests and the consequent increase in traffic impacts on an already sub-standard road is immaterial.
This is clearly an attempt by a large well-funded corporation to circumvent the checks and balances in the planning process and to marginalize the role of the Summit County Planning Commission and others. The planning process is meant to strike a balance between the rights of property owners and the need to preserve the unique character of the Summit County/Park City area. Uncontrolled development will destroy and change forever the reason that all of us came to live in Park City in the first place – the quality of life in a pristine area of great natural beauty.
As concerned citizens, we should question whether the current development codes are being implemented, whether approvals are being granted behind closed doors without proper public comment and whether the full impacts on communities of these projects are being assessed. Our elected officials and their appointed staff members need to be aware that this a major concern of those who vote.
Roger Sawyer Park City
Support local businesses
Let me start by saying that I have owned and operated a small business in Park City for eight years and appreciate our community’s support over those years. I have also done my best to support other local businesses throughout Park City during that same time.
That is why I believe it is very important in this holiday season to support Park City businesses. The local businesses of Park City are what make our town unique. They also provide some of the character that defines Park City.
I know that it is easy to go to any big-box retailer with their friendly prices and pick up everything you need. However, studies show that local businesses reinvest far more money into the local economies than chain stores do — some say $73 for every $100 spent compared to $43 for every $100 spent from the chains.
I also know that it’s just as easy to sit in front of your computer and click away and have everything wrapped, sent and shipped to the doorstep, but that does nothing for our local economy.
Please keep these things in mind when you make the decision where you are going to shop in the coming weeks. I know it is not possible to buy everything locally, but when you can you should consider it.
For all of you out there who own local businesses, please register at http://www.localfirst.org. The "Buy Local First Utah" campaign was started by members of the Salt Lake Vest Pocket Business Coalition in 2004. The campaign’s goals are to increase public awareness of local businesses and to encourage people to shop at locally owned businesses. Currently, there are only three Park City businesses listed. registering you can provide the community with a tool with which to find businesses that can fill their needs.
Have a wonderful holiday season and let it snow!
Brian Richards Richards/Orion’s Music Shop
About Wendy’s water bill
Upon reading the letter to the editor from part-time resident Wendy Hildebrand whereby she expressed outrage at her $2,363 water bill this August, my first thought was, "Have you ever heard of xeriscaping?"
Now, my little house in Silver Summit is probably not as regal as hers up in Glenwild, but my water bill has never exceeded $85 a month. Is this because our yard is so much smaller? No. It’s called conservation. Our backyard was once lush green sod, and it is now a happy breeding ground for dandelions and indigenous grasses.
At the risk of being rude to our part-time resident: Hello! This is a desert and if her water bill is more than $2,000, she is not only wasting water on landscaping unnatural to this climate, but she must also have total disregard for or ignorance of the tenuous water situation that we face here year after year.
I suggest that anyone who can afford to pay more in one month for their water than I do for the whole year should seriously think about going down to the local plant nurseries and investing in the many varieties of beautiful, drought resistant plants. Rock gardens are also nice.
The point is, this is NOT New York where it rains all the time. Of course her water bill there is lower. All of those "luxury home" owners should help us conserve what little water we locals do have here and invest in practical landscaping for the environment. It is a lot better than being angry with the local water department, which is actually to be lauded for charging high fees for excessive water usage. This is a desert, after all. Green lawns and lush vegetation don’t belong here.
Freddy Grossniklaus Park City (Silver Summit)
Kearns Blvd. outrage
I have served Park City’s local and visiting affluent most of my adult life. I would love to own a home, and raise a family in the town I have served and supported with my daily patronage at shops and diners, However, home prices have forced me as far as Heber. So I commute.
Each morning, with white knuckles I clutch my steering wheel on the off ramp of U.S. 40, shaking my car and screaming at other drivers who fly past me at dangerous speeds to make a right turn, then an illegal U-turn, cutting off those waiting to make a legal left turn. The answer to this problem is a stoplight. In fact, a stoplight would solve the following problems: rampant speeding during the last mile before the Park City off ramp of U.S. 40, dangerous speeding and illegal U-turns by jerks the frustration PCHS students face trying to make a left into the school parking lot, speeding on Kearns Blvd., and of course, the traffic through the neighborhoods near Prospector.
With a break in traffic, those of us who were cut off at the off ramp would no longer feel the need to race into town and through the neighborhoods to get to work on time. Speed bumps in a ski resort town are not the answer. Better yet, remove the island and allow two lanes into town. Wake up and see who staffs your front offices, your coffee bars, your housekeeping departments. Park City’s working force is staffed by Heberites. It’s the Parkites who drive to Salt Lake. So which wheel makes the most noise when it comes time to spend money on road development? I don’t care whose jurisdiction it is. Let’s start making some smart, non-hypocritical decisions here and make the commute into Park City from Heber a little easier. Chances are, your receptionist will thank you.
Our sincere appreciation goes out to members and potential members of the Park City Historical Society who attended the annual Dungeon Membership Party in October. More people were able to attend this year than ever before, reflecting the society’s 61 percent rise in membership.
This year’s party, held in the museum’s new space at the old public library building on Main Street, was a great success because of the generous contributions from the Park City Community. We heartily thank the following: Purple Sage Restaurant, EastWest Partners, Greg Schirf, Mary Holley of Mountain Floral, Albertsons and Wasatch Audiovisual. Thank you for making this year’s Dungeon Membership Party a great success!
Katherine Saville Jennie Lewis
Community Outreach co-chairs Park City Historical Society and Museum
Iraqi conflict resolution
Dear Senator Bennett:
"Cut and run" or "Stay the course" are not the options our representatives in Washington should be tussling about regarding Iraq. Our troops, our nation, and the Iraqi people have too much at stake for us to tolerate such simplistic thinking about the complex and dire straits we find ourselves in.
It is so disheartening to find ourselves here – having directed our anger at and fear of Osama bin-Laden to the destruction of a distinctly unrelated and very fractious foreign country with nary a plan to rebuild and stabilize. When Rep. John P. Murtha called for troop withdrawal, Rep. Dennis Hastert said of Democrats, "They would prefer that the United States surrender to terrorists who would harm innocent Americans." It is an insult to our nation to frame this awful problem in such a simplistic way. Once more it is "either you are with the President, or you’re with the terrorists." It is purely an evasion of maturely facing up to the complexity of the situation.
Please, you owe it to us all to stop this. Demand that President Bush begin thinking, listening, facing up to reality – to the fact that our success in Iraq will require radically different thinking. Capturing "al Qaeda in Iraq" leaders, uncovering and thwarting plots will not win the war. Sending more troops will not win the war. Training Iraqi troops has proven much more difficult than anyone imagined, based on cultural and political realities our leadership failed to consider. We will not win with that strategy either. Start listening to military and foreign policy advisors across the political spectrum, who increasingly cry out for radical change in our policies. If you do not, I fear we will either stay entangled in an unwinnable war at great human cost, or withdraw to our shame and Iraq’s undoing.
Sarah C. Klingenstein Park City
Twenty-five years ago, a young Norwegian, Tom Cammermeyer, moved to Park City and set out on a quest to introduce children to the joys and responsibilities of being part of our wonderful natural environment — a philosophy expressed in the Norwegian term "friluftsliv" or "nature life." Since then, Tom has quietly and positively touched the lives of more than 7,000 children. He has taken our kids, disadvantaged and troubled youth, "children-at-risk" and children who have lost loved ones hiking, biking, camping, rafting, skiing, snowshoeing, team building and walking. In doing so, he has uniquely touched our community.
Anyone meeting Tom senses immediately that they have met a special man — his gentle demeanor, clear blue eyes and shy, but inviting smile tell you a lot. But anyone who has spent time with Tom will tell you that he is also a gifted and learned teacher, a great and practical environmentalist and a kindred spirit with the children he mentors and loves. Known as Park City’s "Pied Piper" for the kids he always has in tow, Tom has also proven to be an inspirational leader and guide to the many wonderful, unrecognized mentors who have taught alongside him over the years. Although Tom would say that he has benefited the most from his time with those kids and co-mentors, the citizens of Park City are unquestionably the primary beneficiaries.
Last Saturday, 135 friends, community leaders and supporters, along with mentors and youngsters from Tom’s programs, helped Tom’s Norwegian Outdoor Exploration Center celebrate its 25th anniversary. On Tom’s behalf, we are writing to express our heartfelt thanks to those who donated your time, money, goods and services to the auction; those who purchased those items; those who attended the celebration; those who gave and didn’t attend; and those who honored Tom for his years of service to Park City. Watch for our published "thank you" to those wonderful people and businesses and join us in thanking them for what they have contributed, not just to the Norwegian Center but also to our community.
Mac MacQuoid, Trustee Jerry Sanders, Trustee
The Norwegian Outdoor Exploration Center
Is it intentional, is it the brittle optimism of the frequently disappointed or have the Republicans simply forgotten? I guess it doesn’t matter much but the timing couldn’t be better as Bush and Cheney now vehemently deny that they manipulated intelligence to start a war, this during the same day in 1973 on which Richard M. Nixon boldly declared "I am not a crook!"
Nick Wright Park City
Goodbye Park City
Goodbye Park City. We now are just as bad as all the other large cities — 330 condo/hotel units in the middle of a residential area.
Goodbye Park City. You could have been a contender. You could have remained the champion of good living. But, you sold out.
Goodbye Park City. You slapped on more pavement and the deer and moose no longer visit.
Goodbye Park City. Your stars are no longer heavenly — they are reflections from the bright lights of 330 condos on two acres of land.
Goodbye Park City. I thought I knew you, but I guess I didn’t.
Glenn Jaffe Park City
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Summit County has launched a new program aimed at overturning wrongful convictions.