Interconnect Gondola lands in front of Park City panel | ParkRecord.com

Interconnect Gondola lands in front of Park City panel

Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

The proposed Park City Mountain Resort Interconnect Gondola flew through a Snyderville Basin panel earlier in February.

It lands in front of the Park City Planning Commission on Wednesday.

The gondola, which would be the link that combines PCMR and Canyons Resort into a single property, is the centerpiece of an ambitious set of improvements Vail Resorts plans in 2015. The Colorado firm owns PCMR and operates Canyons Resort as part of a long-term agreement with the Talisker corporate family.

The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission unanimously approved the section of the gondola located outside the Park City limits. The Planning Commission in Park City is scheduled to discuss the gondola and other PCMR improvements and hold a hearing. A vote is not scheduled. City Hall staffers want the Planning Commission to return to the discussions on March 25.

The proposed gondola route runs from a spot close to the bottom of the Silverlode lift at PCMR to the Flatiron lift at Canyons Resort. It would also have a midstation unloading location atop Pine Cone Ridge. It would carry eight passengers per cabin.

PCMR wants Park City officials to amend a plan for upgrades to the mountain that dates to the 1990s. The plan must be changed to allow the connection to Canyons Resort and to allow the expansion of the Snow Hut restaurant, another improvement sought by PCMR. The changes would be the only City Hall approvals needed besides building permits for the construction. The plan for the upgrades was approved in the late 1990s, as the former owners of PCMR were preparing for major development at the base area.

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Some of the discussion at the meeting is expected to center on the visibility of the gondola from points inside Park City. There was some talk about the topic at the Snyderville Basin meeting, but Planning Commissioners in Park City could further press the issue. A Vail Resorts official has said the gondola route would be visible from the Park Avenue post office and Meadows Drive, but it would be approximately 2.4 miles away from those locations.

A City Hall report drafted in anticipation of the meeting on Wednesday indicates the design of the gondola route involved "visual simulations (that) have been conducted properly for review of viewshed and ridgeline protection."

"The terminal structure minimizes the intrusion on the ridgeline from either east or west sight lines. The lift line impacts are reduced as it is below the sky line and in many places within a forested area," the report also says.

The gondola route would include 27 towers ranging in height from 18 feet tall to 61 feet tall with an average of approximately 38 feet tall, Vail Resorts has said. A submittal provided to the Planning Commission says there would be 60 gondola cabins. The submittal indicates the colors of the cabins had not been determined. Officials with Vail Resorts, though, have said the gondola cabins will be painted predominantly silver gray with a strip of red to match PCMR’s branding colors. The cabins would have non-reflective gray glass.

The Planning Commission, meanwhile, is also expected to discuss a Vail Resorts proposal to build a new Snow Hut restaurant with 500 seats inside. It would be located near the gondola terminal. The work would require a taller building, according to the City Hall report. The Planning Commission almost certainly will address the height prior to a vote.

The Planning Commission meeting is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. in the Park City Council chambers at the Marsac Building.

During its meeting earlier in February, the Planning Commission in the Snyderville Basin heard testimony that was generally in support of the gondola. The Snyderville Basin panel discussed topics like traffic and parking in addition to the gondola route. A City Hall planner attended the meeting.