Park City panel starts difficult task of readying documentation for PCMR development vote
It appears the Planning Commission talks about project will continue to be tough
The Park City Planning Commission on Wednesday held what seemed to be an especially difficult meeting about a Provo developer’s vision for a large project at the Park City Mountain Resort base area, spending several hours attempting to prepare the documentation that is needed prior to a vote.
It was not clear how much progress the panel made during the meeting, but the discussion, involving back-and-forth comments between the planning commissioners with input from the developer’s side, likely offered a preview of upcoming gatherings as the Planning Commission readies for the likelihood of a vote later in the year.
The developer, a firm called PEG Companies, has spent more than a year in talks with the Planning Commission about the project. There still appear to be deep-rooted concerns, though, among some of the members of the Planning Commission and people who live or own property in the area of the PCMR base area.
The ongoing worries about topics like traffic, the height of the proposed buildings and the overall layout are influencing the early talks about preparing the documentation that will eventually provide the underpinning for a Planning Commission vote.
It seemed prior to Wednesday several meetings would be needed to craft documents known as the findings of fact and the conditions of approval. The two documents, which are drafted by City Hall with input from the Planning Commission and a developer, are provided to the panel at the time of a vote and outline a wide range of issues regarding a project. They are key to the long-term development future of a parcel of land since they outline an approval.
In the case of the proposal at PCMR, the early iterations of the documentation were drafted more than 20 years after a previous owner of the resort secured a 1990s-era overall approval for the development of the base area. The approval outlined development rights that were eventually built as Marriott’s MountainSide and the Legacy Lodge, but the bulk of the rights remain attached to the land where the vast PCMR parking lots are located. The proposal by PEG Companies stretches through the lots and is based on the 1990s approval. PEG Companies in 2019 reached an agreement to acquire the land from PCMR owner Vail Resorts. The deal is not expected to be finalized until after the talks about the development proposal.
The meeting on Wednesday was expected to be a difficult one, reflecting the grueling nature of the discussions in recent months. The gathering seemed to be even tougher than forecast, though, with there appearing to be the possibility of building tension between the planning commissioners and the PEG Companies side with them attempting to reach agreement on the language of the documentation.
The talks among the Planning Commission, City Hall staffers and the PEG Companies side lasted the duration of the meeting, which stretched for longer than four hours. The Planning Commission opted against taking testimony from the public as the meeting reached the nighttime hours.
The draft of the findings of fact covers the history of the overall approval, starting with Planning Commission and Park City Council votes in the summer of 1997 and followed by a development agreement a year later. Further approvals like the one now sought by PEG Companies were required, the draft notes.
The findings of fact draft also outlines that PEG Companies wants the approval of exceptions to City Hall’s detailed development rules. The exceptions cover issues like the number of parking spots that would otherwise be required and the height limits. Both of those issues have been especially controversial throughout the talks as critics of the project worry about the possibility of increased traffic and large buildings looming over surrounding streets.
Some of the draft findings of fact that may eventually draw attention include:
• one addressing the prospects of introducing a paid-parking system. It reads, in part, the research and planning “provide for the implementation of paid parking for day skiers concurrently with the development of the base area project. The Parking Study estimates that paid parking will increase the Average Vehicle Occupancy (AVO), and that the Resort will move from a parking deficit to a parking surplus on a typical day if coupled with robust TDM measures and shared parking agreements.” The acronym TDM stands for transportation demand management, a broad concept involving means of addressing traffic.
• “Height exceptions are appropriate given that in 1997 the City Council determined that clustering density at the base area was preferable to spreading density up the mountain, and that the clustering preserves open space, provides opportunities for view corridors, and increases the effectiveness of public transportation.”
• “The Planning Commission finds that buildings have been positioned to minimize visual impacts on adjacent Structures. Potential problems on neighboring Properties caused by shadows, loss of solar Access, and loss of air circulation have been mitigated through building placement and (setbacks), and are not more impactful than those approved under the 1998 Development Agreement and 1997 Approvals.”
The draft conditions of approval, meanwhile, also cover the key issues. Some of the draft conditions of approval include:
• “A condition that if adequate parking is not provided to handle peak day parking requirements, the City shall have the authority to require the applicant to expand as necessary at the applicant’s sole cost, a (public) parking facility including the provision of shuttles from that location. The intent is that any off- site parking solution include a coordinated and cooperative effort with the City, other ski areas, the Park City School District, Summit County, the Park City Chamber/Bureau and the Historic Park City Alliance, to provide creative solutions for peak day and special event parking.”
• “For the first five years after receiving a certificate of occupancy, and again at 10 years, for each building, the applicant shall submit or cause to be submitted energy performance information for such building to the City’s Planning and Sustainability Departments demonstrating actual building performance measured against the building performance goals for that building. Performance indicators shall include energy consumption, verification of on-site renewable energy generation, water consumption, waste management . . .”
• “The Transit Station shall include ADA compliant access and at least 6 bus bays of sufficient size in order to meet the expanded transit ridership and bus lengths (including at least one articulated bus bay), indoor and outdoor sheltered waiting areas, equipment storage facilities (lockers) conveniently located nearby, real time transit information displays that include where and when buses will be arriving and departing from, transit and pedestrian wayfinding signage, pedestrian and safety oriented lighting, accommodations for a bike share station in close proximity to the Transit Station, public restrooms, and a transit employee break room.”
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Park City leaders are scheduled to receive a briefing from the Summit County health director about the state of the novel coronavirus. Phil Bondurant’s appearance at a Park City Council meeting is slated less than two months before the scheduled opening of the ski season.