PCMR development vote likely looms in next several months | ParkRecord.com

PCMR development vote likely looms in next several months

Tension could build as Planning Commission decision approaches

The Marsac Building.
Park Record file photo

The Park City Planning Commission could be prepared to cast a vote on the hotly contested proposal to remake the Park City Mountain Resort base area late in the year or in early 2022, the chair of the influential panel said, a projection that signals the likelihood of an especially tense stretch of discussions as the sides prepare for a decision.

John Phillips, the Planning Commission chair, said in an interview he anticipates between another two and four months of talks before a vote would be held. The projection by Phillips was made after another in a series of grueling Planning Commission meetings about the project that was held on Wednesday.

The developer, Provo-based PEG Companies, and the Planning Commission are locked in discussions covering a range of issues like the traffic the project is expected to generate, the height of the buildings and the overall layout. The talks have stretched longer than a year, and it has appeared in recent months the PEG Companies side has become frustrated with the process.

“Possibly a few more months,” Phillips said about the timeline for a vote, calling the meeting on Wednesday “productive.”

Phillips, a veteran member of the Planning Commission, said it is common for a developer to desire a decision prior to the panel being prepared to render one. That sort of scenario is “almost to be expected,” he said.

“I’ve seen it play out similar to this in the past,” he said.

A vote by the Planning Commission in the case of the proposal at the PCMR base area is likely to trigger an appeal to the Park City Council. If the lower panel casts a “Nay” vote, the developer could request the elected officials consider the proposal. If the Planning Commission approves the project, the opposition could file the appeal to the City Council.

The timeline at this point has already stretched months beyond a projected calendar of the Planning Commission review released by City Hall in June of 2020, toward the beginning of the discussions. At that time, the Planning Department projected a vote on Oct. 22, 2020, with a series of meetings starting in May of that year leading up to the forecasted date for a vote. The timeline from June of 2020 will miss the actual schedule by more than a year.

PEG Companies in the spring of 2019 reached an agreement to acquire the PCMR parking lots from resort owner Vail Resorts. The deal is not expected to be finalized until after the talks about the project. There are development rights attached to the land dating to the 1990s. The Planning Commission is tasked with deciding if the proposal jibes with the earlier approval rather than deciding whether development should be allowed at all.

PEG Companies is seeking an approval for a major development stretching through what are now the PCMR parking lots. A hotel, retailers and restaurants are included. Large garages would be built to replace parking that would be lost to the development.

The opponents have seized on a list of issues. They are displeased with the proposed height of the buildings, worried about traffic increases and question whether the proposal meets what was approved in the 1990s, as examples.

Project critics testified at the meeting on Wednesday, which stretched past 10 p.m. and was held virtually as City Hall continues the efforts to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. Some of the issues speakers touched on included the building heights and an assertion that it is the burden of the developer to craft workable plans. In one notable exchange, Planning Commissioner John Kenworthy confronted the PEG Companies side about issues like bus service and parking.

Robert Schmidt, who is the president of PEG Development and a key figure in the discussions, responded with a statement that the proposal is in front of the Planning Commission. Schmidt earlier in the meeting told the Planning Commission issues like the building heights had already been addressed and those talks should not be reopened.

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