Park City panel appears to make limited progress in PCMR development talks
Panel puts off a key discussion
The Park City Planning Commission on Wednesday night appeared to make limited progress in the talks about a major development proposal on the Park City Mountain Resort parking lots, ending deliberations for the year with significant work looming in 2021.
The panel started the discussions with prospective developer PEG Companies in May and in the early summer City Hall staffers outlined a timeline that culminated with the possibility of a vote in October. It was a schedule that appeared aggressive with the scope of a project like the one proposed at PCMR. The Planning Commission can sometimes take a year or more to review a large development proposal, and an October vote became unlikely shortly after the timeline was released.
The Planning Commission over the months of the talks has delved into issues like a key procedural matter regarding the review of the proposal, traffic-fighting measures and the overall design. Some of the meetings have been especially lengthy as the sides delved into details.
The panel on Wednesday held one of the shorter discussions about the proposal, centering on sustainability measures. There was a limited amount of public input questioning the project’s efforts to protect the environment. Dana Williams, a former Park City mayor who is aligned with an opposition group called the Responsible Resort Area Development Coalition, told the Planning Commission the solar-power system proposed is inadequate and inquired about testing for contaminated soils left from Park City’s silver-mining era.
There was a question about what topics should be discussed at the meeting, held remotely as part of City Hall’s efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. There was an opportunity for the Planning Commission to move into a discussion about the project buildings themselves. The topic has generated significantly more interest than the sustainability measures, but it was not scheduled to be discussed on Wednesday.
The Planning Commission held a brief, separate talk about the appropriateness of the topic at a meeting when the issue was not scheduled to be debated. Nicole Deforge, an attorney appearing on behalf of the Responsible Resort Area Development Coalition, objected to the Planning Commission moving to the topic of the buildings. She briefly talked about square footage and view corridors but said a discussion about the buildings at a meeting when the topic was not scheduled would create an appearance of skirting public-noticing rules. Deforge maintained there would have been a different group of people in attendance had it been known the topic would be discussed.
Planning Commissioners decided the topic should be delayed until a later meeting. Douglas Thimm, a member of the Planning Commission, indicated the issue is major as he said he wanted City Hall staffers to prepare a report prior to a meeting addressing the topic. Others agreed and it appears the topic could return at a meeting as early as January. The Planning Commission at that time is expected to review the proposal for a section of the lots designated as Parcel ‘B’ in the blueprints. The section covers the resort’s upper lot and is generally bounded by Lowell Avenue, Manor Way, Empire Avenue and Shadow Ridge Road. It is critical to the overall plans since it is located just off the existing base area, but it is also of great interest to the public as it is located so close to the surrounding neighborhood.
PEG Companies in 2019 reached an agreement with PCMR owner Vail Resorts to acquire the lots. An earlier owner of PCMR in the 1990s secured an overall development approval for the base area that also included the land where Marriott’s MountainSide and the Legacy Lodge were built. The bulk of the rights in the 1990s approval are attached to the parking lots. The deal between PEG Companies and Vail Resorts is not expected to be finalized until after the discussions about the project.
The opposition questions whether the current proposal matches what was outlined in the 1990s approval while PEG Companies sees the project as fitting within that era’s restrictions. Opponents also are concerned about core planning and design issues as well as the traffic the project would be expected to generate. The concerns are similar to those that have been expressed for years in the Park City area when a major development is proposed.
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