Park City, assuaging worries, wouldn’t shift Treasure rights |

Park City, assuaging worries, wouldn’t shift Treasure rights

The Park City Council at a recent meeting signaled it wants to modify a municipal program allowing certain landowners to shift development rights attached to their parcels to another location, a move meant to assuage concerns about one aspect of City Hall's $64 million agreement to acquire the Treasure acreage in a conservation deal.

The program, known as a transfer of development rights, or TDR, includes the Treasure land as a so-called sending zone, meaning that rights attached to Treasure could be transferred to another location. Only approximately 10 percent of the Treasure development rights are included in the program. Development rights are shifted through third-party agreements with prices negotiated between the landowners.

City Hall recently indicated it could tap the program itself if the acquisition of Treasure is finalized. It was seen as an option that could possibly recoup some of the Treasure cost. There was quickly resistance, though, as some of the supporters of the effort to acquire Treasure worried that the deal would lose backers if the development rights were allowed to be shifted elsewhere rather than being eliminated. The acquisition depends on Park City voters in November approving a ballot measure expected to be set at between $50 million and $55 million to fund most of the overall sum.

The City Council at the recent meeting directed staffers to eliminate Treasure as a sending zone in the program. The alteration requires a recommendation from the Park City Planning Commission followed by an action by the City Council. Park City Attorney Mark Harrington said the process will be undertaken prior to Election Day.

The elected officials discussed the program as it relates to Treasure in recent weeks, but comments at the recent meeting were overshadowed by the City Council's approval of a purchase and sale agreement as well as a settlement agreement regarding Treasure that evening.

Beerman at the meeting acknowledged City Hall could recoup costs if the development rights were to be shifted as he also expressed concern. Nann Worel, a member of the City Council, said involving the transfer of development rights in the discussions about the Treasure acquisition could be confusing. Removing the program would simplify the issue, Worel said.

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There was limited public comment at the recent meeting after broader concern was expressed earlier. Ed Parigian, an Old Town resident and a support of the City Hall acquisition of Treasure, wondered whether the municipal government could shift the development rights attached to the Treasure land toward affordable housing projects in the private sector. Parigian's comments did not spur a separate discussion about the program, though.

The City Hall agreement to acquire the Treasure acreage was reached after more than a decade of on-and-off discussions about a proposal involving upward of 1 million square feet of development on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift. Critics of the development proposal argue the project would loom over Old Town and traffic headed to and from the project would overwhelm nearby streets.

The land is under the ownership of the Treasure partnership, consisting of the Sweeney family and a firm called Park City II, LLC. The Sweeney family in the 1980s secured an overall development approval involving the Treasure land and nearby parcels.