Park City says Treasure rights could be shifted after deal | ParkRecord.com

Park City says Treasure rights could be shifted after deal

City Hall on Monday issued a report about the proposed acquisition of Treasure that notes development rights attached to the hillside land could be shifted to another location if the municipal government finalizes the $64 million conservation agreement.

It was an unexpected acknowledgment that is part of City Hall's overall efforts to explain the agreement, which would be, by a wide margin, the most expensive land deal in the history of Park City's open space program. The City Hall report says a transfer is not under consideration as a part of a Treasure deal. But it also says the municipal government "reserves the right to sell or transfer the density in accordance with existing provisions and public processes" outlined by municipal development rules.

The report explains the agreement in the context of a municipal program that allows certain landowners to transfer development rights to another location deemed more appropriate for growth. City Hall created the program in the early part of the decade at a time when officials were attempting to break what had become a logjam in the Treasure discussions. There were unrelated development challenges in Park City at the time that leaders also anticipated could be solved with a program.

The idea was some of the longstanding development rights attached to Treasure could be shifted off the hillside land to a spot better suited for development. Only approximately 10 percent of the development rights attached to the Treasure land were included in the program, but the numbers could be revisited at any point. The overall program created so-called sending zones like Treasure, where development could be shifted away from, and receiving zones, where the rights could be shifted toward.

The prospects of the Treasure development rights being shifted toward a receiving zone if the acquisition is finalized had not been discussed in the days since the agreement was reached.

Park City Attorney Mark Harrington, one of the authors of the Monday report, said the agreement itself would not preclude City Hall from someday pursuing a transfer of the development rights. He said, though, a deed restriction that will be crafted as part of the discussions could prohibit such a move. Deed restrictions are documents that govern the use of a parcel of land. Crafting a deed restriction is an important step in conservation acquisitions. A deed restriction or another conservation instrument could be crafted by the middle of February.

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The Sweeney family in the 1980s secured an overall development approval involving the Treasure land and nearby parcels. The family later sold a 50 percent stake in the land to a firm called Park City II, LLC, creating the Treasure partnership. The City Hall agreement involves a buyout of both sides of the partnership.

The Treasure side had spent more than a decade in on-and-off talks with the Park City Planning Commission about the project. Panelists and project critics worry about traffic, the size of the buildings and the excavation the project would require. The program allowing certain landowners like the partnership to shift development rights elsewhere was one of a series of unorthodox moves designed to reach a Treasure solution.

The City Council meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at the Marsac Building. A hearing about the Treasure agreement is scheduled.