Owners of the former Colby School site have applied for approval for 8-room bed-and-breakfast | ParkRecord.com

Owners of the former Colby School site have applied for approval for 8-room bed-and-breakfast

The Summit County Council on Wednesday overturned the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission's decision to grant a permit for a hotel project at the former Colby School property on S.R. 224. The controversial project's approval in December resulted in the two appeals that were before the Council.
Park Record file photo

Former Colby School site timeline

1985 - Site approved for the Snowed Inn, a small hotel

1998 - Colby School begins operations

2008 - Colby School ceases operations

December 2014 - Emma Worsley and Julie McBroom acquire the property

December 2015 - Application for 13-acre, 55-room hotel and cabin complex with a 5,000-square-foot restaurant

May 2016 - Scaled-back application including three cabin rooms, 33 hotel rooms and multi-use building

March 2017 - Summit County issues notice to vacate for around 50 temporary workers living at site

December 2017 - The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission grants a conditional use permit for a 15-room hotel, 5,000-square-foot restaurant and yoga and fitness studios at the site

March 2018 - County Council rescinds the permit

May 2018 - Owners file lawsuit filed

June 2019 - Lawsuit is dismissed

The owners of the former Colby School property have submitted an application to redevelop the site into a bed-and-breakfast, a markedly less ambitious plan than the one that was initially proposed in 2015, and smaller still than the pared-down version that was approved and later rejected amid community outcry in 2018.

The plan would not require any new buildings and appears to simply require a remodel of the inside of the Victorian-style building. The development code allows for up to eight rooms to be rented overnight and one extra room for the owner-occupant. Such an arrangement would require a conditional use permit that could be granted by the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission. An appeal of the commission’s decision would be heard by the County Council.

The site operated for years as the Snowed Inn bed-and-breakfast, which was originally approved in 1985.

Attempts to redevelop the site on the east side of S.R. 224 have been consistently met with community pushback.

In 2014, Emma Worsley and Julie McBroom acquired the site and in 2015 applied for a 55-room hotel and cabin complex that would have covered 13 acres and included a 5,000-square-foot restaurant, yoga center and event space.

At the time, neighbors told the Planning Commission they were concerned about the site’s noise, light and traffic impacts.

After years of back and forth with the commission that included changing their application based on feedback and being asked to study potential impacts, the pair eventually gained a permit for a 15-room hotel, 5,000-square-foot restaurant and yoga and fitness studios.

That permit was rescinded by the County Council in 2018 following an appeal. The owners filed a lawsuit that was eventually dismissed.

Two years later, the county has received an application from the same corporation that applied for the original plan. Emma Worsley is listed as the registered agent of the company, but The Park Record was unable to reach either Worsley or McBroom for comment.

The site is zoned as rural residential, which allows a bed-and-breakfast as a conditional use. It operated for years as the Snowed Inn. From 1998 to 2008, it operated as the Colby School.

In the 2017 winter season, it was briefly home to about 50 temporary workers before being ordered to shut down.

A pilates studio operates there now and has recently expanded, instructor Brooke Benton said.

Neighbors are expected to once again oppose the development. Joe Wrona, an attorney representing nearby homeowners, wrote in an email to The Park Record that his clients are concerned about any proposal to redevelop the site into anything other than a single-family residence.

“It appears that the owner of the Colby School property is not done trying to convert the property into a commercial development,” Wrona said in the email. “The problem with the current application is that it does not seek to redevelop the property as a single family residence in which the property owner will reside and rent out a few ‘B&B’ rooms. The current application seeks to … convert it into a de facto hotel in which a ‘manager’ will live rather than the owner of the property.”

The definition of a bed-and-breakfast in the Snyderville Basin development code is “an owner occupied residence in which up to eight (8) rooms are rented for overnight lodging to travelers, and where one or more meals is provided to the guests only, the price of which may be included in the room rate.”

It is unclear whether the owners intend to live on the property. The application includes information about parking, lighting and water mitigation, but no information about how many rooms will be built or whether the owners would live there.

If the owners of the property do not wish to live there, they could apply for a special exception from the County Council, Summit County planner Ray Milliner said.

The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission has the sole power to grant conditional use permits. Milliner indicated the application would likely be heard at the Planning Commission’s second meeting in February.

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