Park City panel notes PCMR project issues like worker housing, pedestrian routes
The Provo firm that intends to acquire the Park City Mountain Resort parking lots for a major development recently started talks with the Park City Planning Commission about the project, providing an early glance into the thinking of the panel as it prepares for more intensive discussions in coming months.
The Planning Commission was not expected to make significant progress at the recent meeting, and the gathering was instead seen as an introduction to what will be one of the last major developments inside the Park City limits. Instead, PEG Companies, which reached an agreement to acquire the lots from PCMR owner Vail Resorts, provided an overview of the proposal.
The PEG Companies concept for the PCMR lots is based on a 1990s-era overall development approval that also included the ground where Marriott’s MountainSide and the Legacy Lodge were ultimately built. Much of the development rights outlined in the overall approval are attached to the lots involved in the deal between Vail Resorts and PEG Companies.
A team from PEG Companies addressed the Planning Commission on a series of topics, but neither side delved into the details. The more detailed discussions will unfold at later meetings. Those talks will also likely be more difficult than the initial discussion at the recent meeting.
The PEG Companies team spoke about the excitement of the project while also acknowledging it will be a complicated development. PEG Companies told the Planning Commission a four-star hotel is planned as part of the development, but the firm did not provide details, including any potential branding of the hotel. The developer also mentioned a plaza is planned that would offer apres ski activities.
The Planning Commission offered brief comments that appeared to be intended to introduce some of the issues rather than begin the detailed debates about them. One of the members of the Planning Commission, John Kenworthy, inquired about housing for the workforce. PEG Companies explained there would be approximately 81 units of housing for the workforce as well as additional housing.
Other members of the Planning Commission spoke about pedestrian routes as part of the overall development. There was limited discussion, though, about the topic. Another planning commissioner, Douglas Thimm, told the representatives of PEG Companies an analysis of the parking needs should be conducted.
The members of the Planning Commission also signaled their interest in visiting the PCMR lots before they advance into the talks. There was talk of a visit as early as June 10, but the date of a Planning Commission visit was not immediately finalized. It is not unusual for a Planning Commission to request to visit the proposed location of a major development. Developers typically somehow outline building locations and fly balloons to illustrate the height of proposed buildings during a Planning Commission visit. The visits are usually conducted as part of a meeting agenda, meaning they are open to the public.
The Planning Commission, meanwhile, did not make a decision regarding an important procedural issue in the talks. There is a question about the processing of the application through an amendment to a 1990s development agreement that outlines the rights attached to the land or through the pursuit of a new master-planned development, something employed in large, complex projects. Pursuing a new master-planned development is a more extensive process than an amendment. The Planning Commission will likely address the issue shortly since the decision regarding the procedural matter greatly influences the discussions. City Hall staffers argue a new master-planned development should be necessary based on some of the details of the PEG Companies proposal as compared to the 1990s approval, such as shifting development within the site.
The recent meeting was held remotely with planning commissioners, staffers and PEG Companies communicating online as City Hall continues to conduct remote meetings in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Planning Commission received public input that was read by a staffer. The input included comments touching on the importance of pedestrian flow, how the development would fit with PCMR infrastructure like future ski lifts and the impact on views. The Planning Commission also heard the blueprints do not reflect what is seen in Old Town, just south of the PCMR lots.
The public input is expected to continue through the discussions given the size and scale of the project. There could eventually be concerns about the possibility of traffic increases and the height of the buildings, two issues that developers of large projects regularly encounter in Park City.
The 10-acre project involves residences, a hotel, retailers and restaurants. Housing for employees and housing set aside as affordable are also included. The developers want to construct large garages to account for the parking spots in the lots that would be lost as the project is built. The proposal also includes bicycle lanes and sidewalks on nearby streets, transit improvements and a location for a National Ability Center building,
The development rights attached to the lots date to the 1990s, when a former owner of PCMR secured them after an extensive City Hall approval process. The lots and the attached development rights went to Colorado-based Vail Resorts when it acquired PCMR as a settlement to a lawsuit that centered on the former owner’s lease of the land underlying most of the terrain. Vail Resorts has shifted its focus away from development, resulting in the deal with PEG Companies to sell the lots. The agreement is not scheduled to be finalized until after a decision on the project.
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A Park City business group said the municipal government moved forward with the works without gathering opinions from the organization.