Park City activist challenges Deer Valley Snow Park procedure, prompting quick City Hall response

Old Town resident questions validity of Deer Valley application, but attorney says it remains intact

The Park City Planning Commission met Monday at The Prospector to review Deer Valley Resort’s Snow Park base development plans. | David Jackson/Park Record

A Park City activist on Monday challenged whether a Deer Valley Resort application that is key to a concept for a major development at Snow Park remains valid, drawing a response from a City Hall official in defense of the municipal process to date.

The comments from Angela Moschetta, an Old Town resident who is a leader of the group Future Park City, and later in the evening from the senior attorney at City Hall, Mark Harrington, were some of the highlights of a wide-ranging meeting centered on the Snow Park concept. The two addressed whether Deer Valley can move forward with the application even after months had passed without an appearance before the Planning Commission.

Moschetta in her comments to the Planning Commission claimed there had been a breach of City Hall’s development rules as a result of the period of time since the concept was last addressed in the spring. The Planning Commission and the Park City Council met in a rare joint session in March.

“Yet here we are today with staff ignoring this violation of code, accommodating the applicant and placing the burden on the public and you the Planning Commission to scrutinize an application that should be canceled,” Moschetta said, adding an application could then be submitted under current City Hall development rules.

Harrington later in the meeting addressed the comments from Moschetta. He told the Planning Commission and the large crowd that City Hall rules state a period of time without action has to extend to longer than 180 days before officials may attempt to declare an application inactive. At that point, the municipal planning director must provide an applicant 14 days’ notice.

Harrington explained work on an application may be ongoing between City Hall staffers and a landowner or developer even though a project is not before the Planning Commission in a public setting during that timeframe. The sides may be working with third parties or resolving issues such as those centered on utilities, he said.

“That has not occurred in this case,” he said of the 14-day notice. “There are many aspects of processing the application behind the scenes. Many times an application doesn’t get to their first meeting in that first 180 days.”

Harrington also acknowledged it can be difficult for someone to follow a project while it is under discussion between City Hall staffers and a developer.

“I know that ‘s really hard to track in the public because, like I said, it is often sort of the administrative side of an application, behind the scenes. But in this case, it’s not even a close call. There has been no notice. The applicant has been engaged this whole time. (I) just wanted to put that to bed,” Harrington said.

The Planning Commission did not discuss the statement by Harrington.

Development critics sometimes raise questions along the same lines as those by Moschetta as they wonder how development approvals remain valid for years even with limited activity.

Moschetta responded to the comments by Harrington in a prepared statement requested by The Park Record, making a reference to Deer Valley owner Alterra Mountain Company in her statement.

“In a forum where there isn’t usually back and forth with public commenters, it seemed inappropriate for Attorney Harrington to close the meeting by directly addressing my comments and offering clear support for the Applicant. I disagree with his interpretation of the Land Management Code and believe the timeline of public meetings on the Alterra application speaks for itself,” she stated.

Moschetta owns a Park City-based communications agency that critics of the development concept at Snow Park retained to conduct a survey intended to assess community opinions and community usage of the Snow Park base. The survey aims to inform the advocacy of the critics and any Deer Valley potential alterations to the plans, according to Moschetta.

The Monday meeting was moved from the Marsac Building to The Prospector on Sidewinder Drive to accommodate the large crowd.

Deer Valley is in talks with the Planning Commission about a project that would remake the Snow Park base area with the development of the land that now serves as the parking lots. Development rights were attached to the land as part of Deer Valley’s original overall plan, but another approval is needed addressing the details of a project. The concept involves residences and commercial square footage. Large garages would be built to account for the parking spots that would be lost as the land is developed.

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