Letters to the Editor, February 20-23, 2010
February 20, 2010
On February 10th, once again the citizens of Park City flooded the Planning Commission meeting. Pat Sweeney stated that he expected a "broad range of responses." Nevertheless, all but two spoke against the proposed Treasure Hill project. The rest of the citizens see Treasure Hill as the end of what attracted them to our town in the first place.
The force driving this development is cash. Some Main Street merchants may see increased revenue. The Sweeneys could make a killing if the project is passed, but cowering below the Sweeneys’ concrete buildings, the rest of us will experience crowded sidewalks, traffic jams, and packed parking lots, all so that a few may line their pockets.
I feel the model displayed at the Planning Commission meeting should not be put on public display. It is out of proportion and inaccurate; my building is not situated correctly. There are no spaces between my building and those beside me as indicated in the model. Worst of all, one looks down at the model while we would look up at the proposed development. I think the model is a public-relations move to accustom people to the project. The Sweeneys say how expensive it was, but that has little to do with reality. The real buildings will have a real impact on Park City; the model is just "kinda cool."
The comments of the citizens opposed to the project are correct. Looming above quaint Historic Old Town, slick Treasure Hill will ruin the personality of the town below. At each meeting, residents state that they were required to follow rigid guidelines to build on or improve their property. Can it be that huge concrete and glass buildings will be accepted as reasonable while "the little guy" has to follow specific rules set down by the city?
For safety, my building on Main Street is required have two exits. The plan for the Treasure Hill development calls for one. I find it hard to believe that the whole development isn’t required to have another way out in case of an emergency.
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During years of construction, the town will be disrupted. An endless convoy of noisy trucks will roll down narrow residential streets where children play. The landscape will be scarred. The water supply may be compromised. The personality of Park City will be changed. For several years, the Sweeneys’ promise of improved skiing will be worse, not better.
It has been said that a vote may come as early as April 14, after the resort closes and the town thins out. The vote should not be rushed.
Studies of the project have been financed by the Sweeneys. Anyone can see these reports are unrealistic. The city can’t allow this project to proceed without a complete, impartial, professional examination of the impact this project will have on the environment, the landscape, toxic substances, the water supply, traffic, safety, and parking throughout the area. It’s obvious that the project does not fit the personality of Old Town; no study is needed for that. A vote should not be taken until all facts are in. Given the facts, I cannot fathom it passing.
I hope somehow the Sweeneys will stop trying to "fit a square peg into a round hole." I hope a bond can be passed to buy Sweeneys out at a reasonable price. It’s would be graceful way out of an impossible situation and certainly better than dragging it on and on… and on… and on… and on….
Who can convince the Sweeneys?
Homeowners Association President
Fashion Coalition Building
Eliminating 12th grade is a good idea
I am writing in response to Sen. Buttars’ proposal to eliminate the 12th grade in order to save the state money. I am a seventh grader at Ecker Hill Middle School and I think this is a good idea for the following reasons. First, it will give students time to mature or get a job to pay for college. Secondly, school takes up seven to eight hours of our day, and I think that by eliminating the 12th grade we will be able to spend more time with our families. Thirdly, studies show that the majority of germs are spread at school, therefore by eliminating the 12th grade we will be healthier. Next, I think it would be a good idea to eliminate the 12th grade because then we will have more time to ski and hang out with our friends. Finally, I have heard that there are some pretty mean teachers in 12th grade and I am not looking forward to being in their classes.
School board says thanks to PCEF for support
We would like to express appreciation to the Park City Education Foundation, its board members and volunteers, and all those who recently contributed to the annual Phone-A-Thon. We recognize that economic times are extremely difficult and laud the generosity of our patrons, who willingly step forward to provide the resources necessary for a world-class education for our students.
PCEF has been hosting the Phone-A-Thon for at least 5 years. This year’s event, which took place the first week in February and involved over 50 volunteers, was the most successful ever. We appreciate the Education Foundation and the community for the tremendous support of Park City School District.
On behalf of the Park City Board of Education, Park City School District
Personal attack in letter to editor was out of line
This is a response to a letter by David Ludema that appeared in The Park Record on Feb. 13-16, 2010.
Dear Mr. Ludema
While I appreciate the differences we have on our eating philosophies, I do not appreciate your non-acknowledgement of different points of view. I do not think there is enough space to explain to you my reasons and beliefs of vegetarianism, but my views are very strongly opposed to yours.
We could go on and on as to the whys and wherefores of eating vegetarian, and I don’t think my conclusions necessarily lack intelligence. I do feel, however, you were out of line by attacking me. I was merely stating something that was of importance to my eating pattern, peculiar as it may seem to you, and I am not criticizing those who eat meat or their reasons for doing so. I have been in Park City for 25 years, and being a full-time resident, I do feel that vegetarians should be recognized. I am living in an area that, as you yourself mention, caters to many diverse individuals.
"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." — Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel Prize 1921
Land transaction is huge win for all
Congratulations to the Park City Council, The Summit Land Conservancy, and the Osguthorpe family for reaching agreement on the 121 acres of land north of the 248 entryway, not just in recognition of the significance of this particular parcel as open space but also for the means by which the land will be protected, used and benefit future generations. Use of the conservation easements to strip the land of, while compensating the land owner for, development rights is a win on many levels and addresses issues of land use, agricultural sustainability, and community benefit that do not often get appreciated.
The Osguthorpe family retains title to and use of land which now becomes permanent agricultural land and is compensated for the development rights which have been stripped off the land by the deed restriction or conservation easement purchased by the city and held by Summit Land Conservancy. Those rights are worth millions ($5.75 million in this case), well deserved and just compensation for the landowner.
Money is put in the hands of ranchers/farmers who are typically land rich and cash poor and gives them the means to continue to use the land in an agricultural manner, not something financially viable in this day and age of industrialized farming and food production. Additionally, if the land were to be sold by the Osguthorpes, it would sell as "agricultural land," not developable property, thus allowing another actual farmer or rancher the ability to purchase the land at ag land prices in every transaction in perpetuity. This diminishes the cost of entry to future ranchers and farmers thus allowing prime land to be financially viable for agriculture and not converted to developed commercial or residential property. Huge wins for owners and users of agricultural lands.
The funds spent are less to the community than outright purchase of the land (in this case appraised for $9.4 million) as only the development rights are being purchased, thus leveraging the monies allocated for such purchases. Having land used for agriculture in an increasingly urban setting is, in my opinion, an additional community benefit to the obvious benefit of expanding the Round Valley Open Space tract with the inherent positive attributes for human recreation and wildlife habitat. Huge wins for the community.
Additionally the city could hold, trade, sell, or extinguish the development rights. This could be a model for future development planning. A state, county, or municipality can create a closed system to control development by limiting the number of development rights to what exists under current zoning, then buying and selling those rights based upon the objectives of the entity that authorized the funding for rights purchase. In this example our city now owns some number of development rights purchased from the Osguthorpes which they could use to allocate or limit future development.
The concept of using conservation easement as a viable tool to recognize the financial rights of landowners, preserve agricultural land, propagate ranching, and leverage the resources of the community is one The Summit Land Conservancy has been on the forefront of developing and promoting, in the face of considerable opposition, for two decades in Summit County. Its use in this instance is a huge win for all. Keep up the good work.
Tim B. Henney
IOC decision is an insult to ski jumping
The fact that the IOC will not allow female ski jumpers to participate in the Olympics is really a slap in the face to the sport. I will pass on watching Olympic coverage of ski jumping until the IOC comes to their senses. Could it be they are worried that Linsey Van holds the record (male and female) for the longest jump at Whistler?
Olympic coverage cheats U.S. viewers
Bob Costas started the prime time broadcast on Monday, February 15, by calling the men’s downhill the "signature event of the Winter Olympics."Yet the U.S. was the only place on Earth where snow falls where one couldn’t see the entire event live. We got to see six skiers, interspersed with three ads and lots of fluff. Andrew Weibrecht and Marco Sullivan, two of the four American skiers in the top 30 — after a lifetime of hard work to get there — never made it to the screen. Would it really have hurt NBC’s prime-time ratings to broadcast the event live on cable earlier that day? Or even offered us a complete replay the next day? It certainly was available. The rest of the world got to watch it live.
Give local business a fair chance
I just opened a local business in Park City in the Prospector Square development called Yellow Snow Ice Cream and Coffee. I have been in Park City for many years now and am familiar with the swings of business here and was very excited for Sundance to come this year. My location was perfect: 50 yards from the headquarters, 100 yards from the Prospector Theatre and across the street from the Eccles Theatre. I offer coffee, home-made ice cream, sandwiches, soup, live music and long hours and was ready for the boost in traffic that Sundance brings. Because it was my first year I knew no Sundance visitors would know about me, so I went to the nearby venues and asked if I could pass out free samples and offer some coupons and menus as people were wandering around. I was immediately informed, to my surprise, that no, I could not do that. The reason was because this year the title sponsors of the Sundance Film Festival required that only they were allowed to market with samples and handouts etc. Some of those sponsors included Honda and HP. I’m pretty sure these companies can afford to be a title sponsor in their marketing budget whereas I have no chance. What I did have as a local business was my ability to talk with people, but apparently now I am not allowed to do that even. I also found out that now every venue in the area opens their own Sundance coffee booth just for the 10 days of Sundance, which obviously further destroyed my ability to take advantage of good business. I would hate to see the Sundance Film Festival completely take over the city by pushing out local businesses and allowing only outside companies and title sponsors to benefit from the festival. At least allow us a fair chance to market our local business.
Park City opened its arms to students
With amazing enthusiasm, Park City opened its arms to welcome a dozen high school students from Chambry, France, to the first Sundance/Cannes Film Festival Exchange. Not only did the students enjoy scores of films, they also enjoyed the wonderful hospitality for which Park City is known. A special thank you to the following businesses who made the students’ stay so memorable: Utah Olympic Park, Park City Museum, The Canyons, Park City Mountain Resort, Park City Television and Sundance Film Festival. Even with very short notice, they provided unique experiences for these students to remember. We were very fortunate to host a student who embraced it all and desires to return to Park City to study. I’m proud to live in such a welcoming and exciting place!
Margaret Anna Robertson
A heartfelt thanks to people of Utah
Children’s Oncology Services, Inc. (COSI), and One Step at a Time Camps believe that a diagnosis of cancer should not prevent a child from experiencing the simple joys of childhood. Each year one of our programs provides 30 Midwestern children who have cancer, ages 10-19, with the opportunity to test their abilities on the slopes of Park City. Since 1992 over 350 children have been able to share this experience.
The caring staff at the National Ability Center maximizes their potential so that the children accomplish goals they never thought possible. Through the generosity and hospitality of the people of Utah and the kind local contributors to this organization, we will again experience this truly memorable event.
It is our privilege to express gratitude to all the people and businesses that have made this program a reality. To you and all who have helped, we give our heartfelt THANKS!
Long Beach, Ind.
co-director, One Step at a Time Utah Ski Trip