Neighbors strikeout against proposed Ritz-Carlton
Several neighbors of the proposed North Silver Lake Lodge development, now slated to be a Ritz-Carlton Resort Residence have sent e-mails urging the Park City Planning Commission to deny the extension of the existing conditional use permit to project developers. But the commissioners did not read any of them, according to planning commissioner Michael O’Hara.
"The planning commission is not political," he told the room full of North Silver Lake residents at Wednesday’s public hearing. "When we have [an application] we apply the Land Management Code. We don’t ask for a show of hands or a vote from City Council. The mass of humanity against something does not sway us. If I see an e-mail addressed to ‘Dear Planning Commissioner,’ I don’t read it."
Though commission chair Jim Barth concurred with his fellow commissioner, he did say those who testified during the public hearing would be heard. The subsequent meeting lasted until 11 p.m., in part, because so many residents approached the podium to speak out against the project.
However, despite the fact that homeowners voiced their opposition to the planned 436,402 square-foot lodge, the commission voted to approve the extension of the conditional use permit, based on the recent progress made by developers. Though they did not give the developer a year’s extension, they did grant the developer 90 days beginning Dec. 11, 2005, the date the permit expired. The extension is the fourth given since the original CUP was approved in 2001, and according to Park City planner Pat Putt, the commission’s decision to renew once more, was allowable under Land Management Code requirements. "The Planning Commission may grant an extension of a conditional use permit for up to one additional year when the applicant is able to demonstrate no change in the circumstance that would result in an unmitigated impact," he explained. However, Bob Dillon, who identified himself as counsel for more than 30 neighbors of the parcel, argued the developer had no plans of building the same project described in the original CUP. "We oppose an extension to the CUP because [the developers] don’t intend to build this project as approved," he explained. "[What they want to build] is the equivalent of a new CUP and this commission said repeatedly that if you want additional units, you need a new CUP."
Brad Wilson, president of the American Flag Homeowner’s Association and a13-year Deer Valley resident said the CUP extension would set a bad precedent, and agreed that the developer had other plans in mind.
"The reason why [they want an extension] is because they want to use it as a point to negotiate from," he said. "We should look at [this CUP] as a fresh start and assess its compatibility with the existing neighborhood."
The existing neighborhood, according to many of the residents who testified, has become a community that builds well beneath density limits a neighborhood of single-family homes, not large resort buildings. The Ritz-Carlton Resort Residences would be inconsistent with those other structures.
Terry Winnick, who represented the owner of the property at the meeting, does appear to have other plans for the property other than the design included in the original CUP. In addition to the extension, Winnick approached the commission with a request to amend the conditional use permit.
Instead of the 436,402 square feet, the developers of the Ritz-Carlton would like 565,837 square-feet, which would help to increase the residential square footage by approximately 22 percent, according to Winnick. He also asked for an extra six feet in height to accommodate the center of the building.
But the request for amendments did not create a completely new project, he said. Instead, he explained, "this is a redevelopment of an existing project." According to Ray Milliner, the City Hall planner assigned to the project, the issue of how large the original 1981 Deer Valley master plan will allow the Ritz-Carlton to be is complicated by the fact that the master plan did not put a cap on the square footage per unit. The Deer valley master plan provides for 54 units of density on the North Silver Lake site with no specific limitation on the square footage, Milliner explained. In addition to the units, the applicant is requesting that the commission transfer 70 additional units from Snow Park to the North Silver Lake site (the 70 units are limited to a maximum of 2,000 square feet), bringing the total request to 124 units, he said.
"The entitlement [attached to the property] is 54 units, but there’s not a fixed formula according to the master plan and that’s the question the planning commission has to figure out," Milliner said. The Planning Commission will review the density transfer for compliance with the general plan, and if they determine it is appropriate, they will review the 124-unit project for compliance with the requirements of the Land Management Code (height, setbacks, open space, neighborhood compatibility, etc.), he said. If the commission determines the transfer is not appropriate, then the applicant will need to revise the plan to reflect only 54 units. At the conclusion of the meeting Wednesday night, commissioners decided to continue the discussion on the amendments to the CUP to a later date.
American Flag Homeowners’ Association
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Buses, trains and gondolas doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but they make up the transit alternatives for the mountain transportation system the Central Wasatch Commission is trying to create, mostly in the Cottonwood canyons.