PCMR development labeled an ‘obscene raping,’ drawing rebuke for startling language
Correspondence to Planning Commission illustrates the intensity of the discussions about project
At a little bit before 8 a.m. on July 30, the Breslins were finishing an email to the Park City Planning Department centered on a Provo developer’s concept for a major project at the base of Park City Mountain Resort.
The correspondence focused some of the comments on the owner of PCMR, the Colorado-based Vail Resorts, saying the firm had “destroyed all that was ‘Park City’” and was not finished turning the community into what they called “Vail City.”
City Hall released the correspondence amid the continuing talks about the PCMR development proposal, pursued by PEG Companies with the intention of acquiring the resort parking lots from Vail Resorts for the project.
The Breslins’ comments that centered on Vail Resorts likely reflect the worries of many Parkites who remain distressed seven years after the firm acquired PCMR and then linked it with the former Canyons Resort into a single property. Many bemoan what they consider to be the corporate vibe of the community since then, say the traffic has worsened and are worried about increases in the cost of living.
The Breslin correspondence, though, ends with verbiage that is startling even in a community where much of the tension over the last 30 years has in some way been driven by growth matters.
“Do not allow PEG to destroy what we have left. We do not have the water nor the infrastructure to allow this obscene raping of our resort,” the correspondence, signed by the Breslin couple, said.
The choice of the word “raping” separates the correspondence from many others. Over the years, the opposition in even the most bitter of Park City’s development battles generally avoided that sort of language. Heated testimony is commonplace and correspondences to Park City officials are sometimes intense, but the term used in the Breslin communication is notable as the Planning Commission appears to be readying for what will be one of the panel’s most important votes in years.
It is not known whether a correspondence like the one from the Breslins will ultimately be seen as an outlier or whether the debate about the PCMR project is suddenly escalating as a Planning Commission decision approaches. Any vote by the Planning Commission could be appealed to the Park City Council, meaning there is the possibility that the dispute about the development proposal will extend for months. It seems likely the developer would appeal a “Nay” vote while the opposition would request the elected officials’ involvement in a vote in favor of the project by the lower panel.
The proposal involves residential and commercial square footage atop what are now the PCMR parking lots. Large garages would be constructed in place of the parking spots that would be lost to the project. The opposition to the proposal is worried about issues like the traffic the development is expected to generate, the height of the buildings and the overall design. The Planning Commission has held a series of difficult meetings about the proposal and it appears there remains concern among the panelists.
The Breslin email indicated the couple are residents of Park City since 1972. The community in the nearly 50 years since 1972 has changed radically, and much of Park City nowadays is likely unrecognizable when put against the early 1970s. What is now known as PCMR in 1972 was skeletal compared to the resort of today, Deer Valley did not exist and the growth of residential and commercial real estate in Park City has been dramatic since then.
Julie Breslin, one of the signatures on the correspondence, declined to comment about the language that was used.
The chair of the Planning Commission, John Phillips, said in an interview it is “distasteful to have language like that” and that he does not “think that kind of venom is productive to the conversation.”
“There really is no need for that,” said Phillips, who is a veteran member of the Planning Commission whose tenure included the hotly disputed Treasure proposal on a hillside overlooking Old Town.
As a member of the Planning Commission, Phillips said, he appreciates what he describes as “constructive opposition.” Input with language resembling the Breslin email could “discourage others from getting involved,” he said.
“I think civility is key,” Phillips said.
PEG Companies provided a prepared statement at the request of The Park Record regarding the Breslin correspondence. The firm’s statement did not directly address the language that was used.
“We have been reading and listening to all public comment, whether it comes to us in the public forum or by way of the many open houses and community outreach meetings we carry out. Substantive, factual and respectful input has absolutely resulted in many plan changes over the past year and a half,” the statement said, in part.
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