Park City drafts defense of intensive review of Treasure
November 28, 2017
The Park City Planning Department has issued a report in anticipation of a Wednesday meeting about the disputed Treasure proposal that defends the department's work on the project against criticism from the development partnership that Treasure has been subjected to an unusually intensive review.
The report covers numerous issues related to Treasure, but a section about the fairness of the review is an especially intriguing inclusion. The Treasure partnership, consisting of the Sweeney family and a firm called Park City II, LLC, recently raised a concern that other large development proposals were not scrutinized at the same level as Treasure has been.
Pat Sweeney, who represents his family in the discussions, in early November said in an interview the partnership is "getting treated differently than others in the community." He noted the way in which the Planning Commission discussed the traffic Treasure is projected to generate and utility blueprints as examples. He said at the time the Treasure side has not seen traffic as a critical issue since traffic-fighting measures were crafted, claiming the continuing discussions about traffic are "no pun intended . . . a good place to park the process."
The chairman of the Planning Commission, Adam Strachan, disputed the assertion, saying there is "no doubt we've treated the application fairly and thoroughly." He also said the "size and scope of the project does not change the fairness of the process."
“The applicants assert that their application has been treated unfairly compared to other comparable projects. First of all, there are no comparable projects. Size alone or characterization as a large resort (hotel) both oversimplify any attempt to find parallels with approvals such as the Montage or St. Regis,” Park City Planning Department report about Treasure
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The Planning Department defense of the Treasure review discusses the approval process of the Montage Deer Valley and the St. Regis Deer Valley, two large hotels that have been seen as similar in some ways to Treasure since they all occupy locations on the slopes and are designed as amenity-rich lodging properties.
"The applicants assert that their application has been treated unfairly compared to other comparable projects. First of all, there are no comparable projects. Size alone or characterization as a large resort (hotel) both oversimplify any attempt to find parallels with approvals such as the Montage or St. Regis," the Planning Department report says.
It says "the clearest difference" between Treasure and the other projects is "its physical location within and adjacent to the city's most cherished and heavily regulated historic old town." The Treasure land is on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift off streets like Lowell Avenue and Empire Avenue. The Montage Deer Valley and St. Regis Deer Valley are situated in locations away from heavily populated neighborhoods.
The report provides rundowns of the approvals of the two other projects, including the steps they took to lessen the overall impact like the construction of a people mover known as a funicular at St. Regis Deer Valley. The report says Treasure fails "to cite the actual approval documents, history and the extensive mitigation efforts contained within each project they wish to compare themselves to."
The defense of the Planning Department's work on Treasure was published as the Planning Commission appears to be just weeks away from what will be a momentous vote on the project after more than a decade of on-and-off discussions.
The Planning Commission is expected to meet three more times about Treasure with a vote possible at the third meeting, scheduled on Dec. 13.
The defense was also crafted at a time when the Treasure side has appeared more frustrated than it had been at many points during the years of the discussions. The Treasure partnership in October said it was disconcerting that officials were, according to the Treasure side, focused on negatives. There was also a rare moment that month involving a Planning Commissioner raising his voice at a Treasure representative.
The meeting on Wednesday is expected to address issues like the amount of land that would be disturbed by Treasure and the partnership's plans to move materials excavated during construction up the hillside. A hearing is scheduled.
The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Park City Council chambers at the Marsac Building.
The Treasure proposal involves approximately 1 million square feet of development off streets like Lowell Avenue and Empire Avenue. Residences, commercial square footage and meeting space are proposed. The Sweeney family in the 1980s secured an overall approval for development on the Treasure land and nearby parcels. It later sold a stake in Treasure to Park City II, LLC, creating the partnership. Critics claim Treasure would overwhelm surrounding Old Town with traffic and the buildings would loom over the neighborhood.