Park City developer of Treasure claims unequal treatment
Partnership says critics want to undo 1980s approval
November 8, 2017
A member of the Treasure partnership on Monday questioned whether the Park City Planning Commission is fairly reviewing the hotly disputed project, contending the discussions have dwelled on details that other developers have not been made to address at the same point in the process.
Pat Sweeney, who represents his family in the Treasure discussions, said he has a good understanding of City Hall planning and zoning processes after helping shepherd other projects to an approval such as the Town Lift Plaza. The Planning Commission's review of Treasure has not proceeded in a similar fashion, he said.
"We think we're getting treated differently than others in the community. We're OK with being treated equally. We're not OK with being treated differently," Sweeney said.
Talks about Treasure between the Planning Commission and the development partnership have stretched for more than a decade with a series of starts and stops over the years. The Sweeney family in the 1980s secured an overall approval for development on the Treasure land and nearby parcels, but another permit is needed before the approximately 1 million-square-foot project can proceed. The land is now owned by a partnership involving the Sweeney family and a firm called Park City II, LLC.
Sweeney said he started to see a difference in the way the project was treated after Pat Putt, the onetime planning director at City Hall, departed nearly a decade ago.
Sweeney said issues related to the way the project has been treated include the Planning Commission review of traffic and utility blueprints. The Planning Commission has been especially interested in the traffic Treasure is projected to attract to roads like Lowell Avenue and Empire Avenue. Sweeney claimed Treasure proposes traffic-fighting measures like building a people mover known as a cabriolet and argues the expansion of skiing into Old Town was another move to fight traffic.
Recommended Stories For You
The Planning Commission instead continues to dwell on the topic, Sweeney said, arguing traffic was not seen as a critical issue to the developer's side since the traffic-fighting measures were crafted.
"It seems like, no pun intended, it's a good place to park the process. Just have it sit there," Sweeney said about the discussions about traffic.
Sweeney, meanwhile, said the Planning Department has ignored some of the discussions in the 1980s that resulted in the overall approval. He claimed staffers of today have not objectively represented the earlier approval in Planning Department reports.
Sweeney, as an example, said the current Planning Department calculations of square footage do not properly account for the width of hallways.
"I don't think it would be a reach to say that people do not want this master plan to happen. They just don't," he said, adding, "They're basically trying to undo that decision is our perspective."
Planning Commission rosters over the years have expressed deep-rooted concern about Treasure, focusing on issues like traffic, square footage, building heights and construction issues.
The current Planning Commission's concerns have seemed more focused, though, likely a result of the Treasure partnership's interest in a vote by the panel shortly.
The chairman of the Planning Commission, Adam Strachan, said in an interview the panel's review of Treasure has been "undeniably, no doubt" fair and full. Anyone who has closely followed the Treasure discussions would understand the statement, he said.
"No doubt we've treated the application fairly and thoroughly," Strachan said, adding that the core of the review is not influenced by the breadth of Treasure. "The size and scope of the project does not change the fairness of the process."
The Treasure land is located on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift. It is off streets like Lowell Avenue and Empire Avenue. Opponents argue Treasure-related traffic would overwhelm Old Town roads and the buildings would loom over Old Town.
The Planning Commission is scheduled to continue the Treasure discussions at a meeting on Wednesday starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Park City Council chambers at the Marsac Building. A hearing is scheduled.
The Treasure side hopes the Planning Commission will be prepared to cast a vote by the end of the year, possibly on Dec. 13.