May 1, 2004: Treasure Hill draws traffic concerns |

May 1, 2004: Treasure Hill draws traffic concerns


The proposed Treasure Hill development drew a packed house to its first public hearing and, as was expected, neighbors appear most concerned about the amount of traffic the project will attract.

About 25 people attended a Park City Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday about Treasure Hill but, rather than offering lots of opinions for or against the project, many of the people, the majority from Old Town, had questions and some worries.

People who live in Old Town are interested in the amount of traffic that will drive to and from Treasure Hill, which the Sweeney family wants to build on two parcels nearby Park City Mountain Resort’s Town Lift just off the Lowell Avenue-Empire Avenue curve.

Several of the 10 people from the public who testified addressed their concerns about traffic related to the project.

Ron Shepard, who lives on the 800 block of Norfolk Avenue, said he is concerned that Crescent Tram, a tiny Old Town road, will become a popular way for people to drive to Treasure Hill. He is worried about traffic on 8th Street, where he said vehicles get stuck sometimes, as well.

"It is 300 cars, potentially, trying to get up 8th Street," Shepard said.

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Mary Whitesides, who lives on the 800 block of Empire Avenue, said that traffic from the project and a cable railway known as a funicular that is planned for Treasure Hill will be noisy.

"I’m concerned about the noise level in back of my house," she said, adding that she is also worried about the impacts that the construction of the project will have on the neighborhood.

One person, though, testified about a potential economic boost that the development could bring to Park City and said the Sweeney family will build an appropriate project.

"I know they’re going to be sensitive to the needs of the community," said Peter Roberts. "I think this will add a lot to Park City."

Other issues brought up during the hearing included a desire that the project has enough landscaping to buffer nearby residences, a concern about pollution, how people staying in the project will access Park City’s bus system and a concern that the project will siphon customers from the Resort Center.

Wednesday’s meeting was the most noteworthy so far for Treasure Hill, which is the largest development currently under consideration at City Hall, and will be followed by additional public hearings.

The Sweeney family has requested that the government allow 282 condominiums, townhouses and hotel suites on a little less than 124 acres, most of which would remain as open space. The funicular would carry 15 people at a time on two-minute trips between the upper and lower portions of Treasure Hill.

The Town Lift, meanwhile, would be replaced by a combination of a cabriolet and a new lift.

Most of the development is proposed for the uppermost part of the project, known as Creole Gulch. The remainder would be built around the Town Lift midstation.

The project is part of an overall 1986 approval that the Sweeneys won from the government. Since it received a generalized approval in the 1980s, the Planning Commission is currently reviewing Treasure Hill’s details, not deciding whether to allow it to be built.

The 1980s approval also included the Town Lift Plaza, Main Street’s Caledonian Building and three single-family homes.

The plan calls for buildings throughout the development parcels, one of which would rise to nine stories tall. Pat Sweeney, who represents his family, said only six stories of the nine-story building would be constructed above grade, though. Other buildings would be six stories tall, five stories tall and three stories tall, Sweeney said.

Sweeney also outlined what he sees as benefits of the project, such as providing customers for nearby Main Street and increasing the city’s tax base.

After the hearing, Sweeney said the issues brought up were appropriate and said "we’ve got solutions in place."

"I think people have legitimate concerns, good concerns. They have concerns I would have," Sweeney said in an interview.

He addressed the questions about traffic, saying that he hopes not everyone who visits Treasure Hill drives there and said surrounding roads are capable of handling the traffic that will drive to and from the project.

"On average, Lowell and Empire are more than adequate," Sweeney said.

Planning Commissioners made brief comments after the hearing, agreeing that traffic will be a significant issue as the project advances.

"It will take more than an engineering exercise," Planning Commissioner Michael O’Hara said about solving traffic issues.