Park City developer’s dig would ‘obliterate’ hillside, opposition says |

Park City developer’s dig would ‘obliterate’ hillside, opposition says

Treasure partnership readies for more discussions about the excavation

The Treasure partnership wants to excavate a section of a hillside overlooking Old Town in an initial step of the construction. Critics worry about the excavation itself and the placement of the materials that would be removed during the digging.
Courtesy of Treasure

The excavation planned as an initial step in the construction of the Treasure development proposal would stretch longer than a football field backward from the property line, prompting more criticism from project opponents concerned about a wide range of Treasure issues.

The excavation would run as many as 409 feet from the property line to the back of the project land, according to the Park City Planning Department. It would be as deep as 135 feet without counting additional depth needed for the foundation work, the department said. The excavation of Treasure would be one of the largest in Park City and has drawn additional attention recently as project opponents worry about the impact on the hillside.

The Treasure partnership, consisting of the Sweeney family and a firm known as Park City II, LLC, wants to secure an approval for nearly 1 million square feet of development on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift. The Park City Planning Commission is scheduled to continue its discussions on Wednesday and is expected to address the excavation again.

Pat Sweeney, who represents his family in the talks, said the partnership intends to keep the excavated material on the Treasure land itself, in a location known as Creole Gulch, or on nearby land identified long ago by the Sweeney family and Park City Mountain Resort. A “modest amount” of excavated material would also be brought to the King’s Crown run at PCMR, he said.

The Treasure partnership projects 800,000 cubic yards of material would be excavated, down approximately 200,000 cubic yards from an earlier plan. The reduced number is based on reimagined development plans since 2009 and allows the developer to keep most of the material on the Treasure land, Sweeney said.

He said the excavation is expected to turn up a small amount of what is considered to be low-grade ore left from Park City’s silver-mining days. The low-grade ore is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. It would be left on the Treasure land and buried, Sweeney said.

“In essence, we’re keeping it on our property,” Sweeney said about the excavation.

By doing so, the Treasure developers would not send high numbers of dump trucks up and down neighborhood streets, he said. The construction traffic during the excavation has been one of the concerns of critics.

“It’s not going to be thousands and thousands and thousands of trucks,” he said.

A Treasure opposition group called the Treasure Hill Impact Neighborhood Coalition has deep-rooted concerns about the project, including worries about the excavation. An attorney retained by the group, Nicole Deforge, submitted a memo to the Planning Department in anticipation of the meeting on Wednesday criticizing the plans.

Deforge says in the memo the excavated material would be put on land that was dedicated as open space as part of a 1980s approval that covered the Treasure land and nearby parcels.

She says the material would cover 16 acres and be as deep as 65 feet.

“In doing so, they will obliterate all of the plants, shrubs, and trees on those 16 acres of pristine open space,” the memo says.

The meeting on Wednesday will follow two weeks after the Planning Commission addressed the excavation, probing issues like the open space and the traffic from trucks involved in the digging. The Treasure side at the earlier meeting also outlined plans to use explosives during the excavation, eliciting additional displeasure among the critics.

The Planning Commission meeting is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers at the Marsac Building. A hearing is planned.

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