Parkites seek an Accord in mountains |

Parkites seek an Accord in mountains

More than 100 people gathered on Monday night in Park City for a wide-ranging discussion about the region’s future.

But it was not clear if they reached an accord.

The Mountain Accord, a group of 20-plus government entities, not-for-profit organizations and corporate interests crafting a plan for the Wasatch Mountains, held a roundtable discussion at the Park City Marriott that addressed a wide range of issues related to growth in the region.

The event was part of a push by the Mountain Accord as it prepares to recommend preferred scenarios early in 2015. The people at the event in Park City were a mix of Parkites alongside a list of public officials. Mayor Jack Thomas and members of the Park City Council were at the event, as were Summit County Councilors. High-ranking City Hall and County Courthouse officials were also there. Tourism officials, Main Street representatives and figures in the resort industry were also in attendance.

The crowd was split into groups to dwell on a series of topics related to the Mountain Accord. The people at one table were spirited as they spoke about the economy and the possibilities through the Mountain Accord. Alison Butz, the executive director of a business group called the Historic Park City Alliance, led the discussion.

"We don’t want to spoil what we have," Butz told the others at the table as she described the recreation industry and the historic nature of Main Street.

The people at the table rattled off numerous ideas. There was talk about developing a rail line from the Wasatch Front to the Wasatch Back and some wondered about possible locations for parking in the Park City area.

The discussion at the table moved to the environment, including wilderness areas. The people at the table briefly mentioned Deer Valley Resort’s recent acquisition of Solitude Mountain Resort as well as a projection that there will be little growth in the Park City area even as development in Wasatch County expands.

The people also spoke about the prospects of connections between the region’s mountain resorts. They said links would be good for marketing the ski industry, but there was concern about the impacts on the environment and wildlife.

Kent Cashel, the long range transit planner for City Hall, led a talk about transportation, touching on the idea of a bus line connecting Park City and Salt Lake International Airport and the possibility of faster bus service in the region.

Roger Williams, a Promontory resident with a history in Park City dating back nearly 40 years, was among the crowd on Monday, saying in an interview the Mountain Accord process will maintain "old Park City" as the community stays busy all year rather than just during the ski season. He said he hopes places on the Wasatch Front and the Wasatch Back benefit from Mountain Accord.

"Managed growth is fabulous," he said.

Government figures from Park City and Summit County who are involved with the Mountain Accord were pleased with the event on Monday, Andy Beerman, a Park City Councilman who is a member of the executive committee of the Mountain Accord, said in an interview afterward the crowd was curious and enthusiastic. Some were surprised the Mountain Accord is as comprehensive as it is, he said. Others were concerned that the Mountain Accord be conducted correctly since it will address the coming decades, he said.

Chris Robinson, the chair of the County Council and the vice chair of the Mountain Accord executive committee, said in an interview issues he heard about included transit options, such as the idea of connecting the Park City area with the Cottonwood Canyons for transportation purposes.

"We’ve gotta get people out of their vehicles," Robinson said, adding, "Incentive transit and disincentive cars."

The Mountain Accord anticipates holding more open houses in early December. A public-input period will follow. The group expects to recommend preferred scenarios in mid-January. Another phase of the Mountain Accord could be conducted afterward.

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