Park City prepares for momentous Treasure vote
The Park City Council on Thursday will likely approve an agreement to acquire Treasure in a $64 million conservation deal, a decision that would be a landmark moment in the 30-plus years of controversy regarding Treasure and one that would move the dispute to voters.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the City Council are scheduled to address two related documents. One is a purchase and sale agreement, which will outline the acquisition itself. The other is a settlement agreement, which will detail what would happen should voters reject a ballot measure in November to raise most of the funds needed for the deal. The settlement agreement will cover topics like the $6 million City Hall is required to forward to the Treasure partnership as a down payment. It will also address a redesign of Treasure should the ballot measure fail. The $6 million payment would be used to reduce the project by 10 percent if voters reject the ballot measure.
Matt Dias, the assistant Park City manager and one of the staffers heavily involved in the Treasure discussions, said the settlement agreement also addresses the skiing infrastructure on the Treasure land through easements for ski runs and lifts. Park City Mountain Resort’s Town Lift and the Town Lift runs are on the land, and agreements have been in place for years between the resort and Treasure.
The City Council could cast a vote at the meeting on Thursday. The meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. in the City Council chambers at the Marsac Building, A hearing is scheduled prior to a vote. City Hall staffers have drafted a report recommending an approval, Dias said.
The Sweeney family in the 1980s secured an overall development approval for the Treasure land and nearby parcels and later sold a 50 percent stake to a firm called Park City II, LLC, creating the partnership. The partnership spent years locked in discussions with the Park City Planning Commission about a project involving upward of 1 million square feet on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift.
There are Planning Commission and neighborhood concerns about the project regarding issues like the size of the proposed buildings, the traffic Treasure would generate and the large excavation required. The $64 million agreement was negotiated as it appeared the Planning Commission was readying to cast a vote after more than a decade of on-and-off talks about Treasure. It seemed the panel was preparing to reject the proposal.
The City Council meeting on Thursday could draw a mixed crowd. The opposition to the Treasure development proposal has lauded the agreement to acquire the acreage, arguing it is best that the land remains undeveloped. But there have also been early questions about the deal from those who are worried about the cost and property tax increase that would be required to fund the acquisition. The ballot measure would be expected to be priced at between $50 million and $55 million, but the precise number would not be finalized until later in the year, during the City Hall budget talks.
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The Jordanelle Reservoir is at about 67% of its capacity, not the lowest its been but a level that officials say is concerning.