Park City planning panel poised to consider meeting curfew after series of late nights
Gatherings could end at 9:30 p.m. under a set of recommendations crafted amid heavy workload
The Park City Planning Commission could institute a curfew on meetings in the near future after repeated late nights kept members of the panel, developers and the public online toward the 10 p.m. hour.
A curfew like the one under consideration would be seen as a step that would benefit the Planning Commission amid a heavy workload as well as members of the public, who sometimes spend hours listening to a meeting as they await an opportunity to testify.
A communication from City Hall staffers drafted in anticipation of a Planning Commission meeting scheduled on Wednesday outlines recommendations regarding the format of panel meetings. A key recommendation would involve setting a maximum of four hours for the Planning Commission to review items on the agenda and take input from the public.
The recommendation includes a meeting window running from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The 5:30 p.m. start is the normal beginning time for Planning Commission meetings, but the meetings currently run until the panel is finished with the agenda regardless of the time. The meetings, which continue to be held online in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, regularly stretch well beyond the 9:30 p.m. end time recommended by staffers.
The Planning Commission in the past year-plus has held a series of lengthy meetings focused on a large development proposal at the base of Park City Mountain Resort. Those discussions have been widely attended and received broad publicity, but other projects that have not drawn the same attention have also taken extensive time.
The talks about the proposal at PCMR are held in special meetings, meaning the Planning Commission gathers three times each month instead of the traditional twice-monthly schedule.
The Planning Commission, meanwhile, is in the early stages of talks about a significant proposal on Deer Valley Resort land outside Snow Park Lodge. The upcoming talks about the project at Snow Park will add another complex, likely time-consuming project to the Planning Commission agendas.
The workload has led to “exceptionally large packets for review and lengthy and taxing meetings for the Commissioners, Planning Staff, and the public,” the City Hall communication to the Planning Commission says, adding that some of the panel members “have reached out to the Planning Staff to express their concerns and have asked if the additional time commitment of 2021 could be addressed.”
The 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. meeting time recommendation could especially draw interest. Agenda items deemed to be time sensitive “would be prioritized at the beginning of the meeting and any items not covered during the evening would be continued (to) a later meeting,” according to communication. A meeting managed in that manner could lead to a delay of at least several weeks for developers or landowners awaiting a discussion that is on the agenda but is ultimately continued based on a curfew.
Under the recommendation, the Planning Commission during a meeting could cast a vote to extend the discussions.
Other points include:
• a recommended maximum time of 45 minutes during any individual meeting for agenda items that are considered to be routine, including conditional-use permits.
• a recommended maximum time of two hours during any individual meeting for agenda items that are seen as complex, such as master-planned developments, or are expected to be controversial.
• a recommended maximum of one hour during each meeting for items like amendments to City Hall’s detailed development rules, which usually are discussed over the course of multiple Planning Commission meetings.
• a recommended cap of between three and five minutes for any individual’s testimony, “depending on number of public comments.” The recommendation also calls for a hearing to “focus public comment on the specific topic for Planning Commission review.”
The communication from staffers, meanwhile, briefly addresses the prospects of the Planning Commission restarting in-person meetings. The communication notes the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus as it says the Planning Commission will “determine whether January and February meetings remain electronic.”
The Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. and be held online. Information about attending is available on the City Hall website, parkcity.org. The direct link to the meeting is: parkcity.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/38483/15.
With more bicyclists hitting the pathways in Park City, the municipality recently installed crossing gates to increase safety at several locations.
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