PCMR project critic drafts intriguing comparison to development concept at Deer Valley
Snow Park proposal seen as being in ‘stark contrast’ to the disputed one pursued across town by Provo firm
A Provo firm is more than a year into discussions with the Park City Planning Commission about a major project at Park City Mountain Resort, a proposal that is based on an overall approval for development dating to the 1990s.
And Deer Valley Resort just started talks with the Planning Commission about a large project at Snow Park that has been contemplated since the 1970s.
In both of the cases, the developers need to successfully argue the projects of today that have been put to the Planning Commission fit with the earlier approvals. PEG Companies, the Provo firm that wants to acquire the PCMR parking lots for the development, is finding the task difficult as the talks remain mired in concern about topics like traffic, the height of the proposed buildings and the overall layout. It is not clear whether Deer Valley will encounter the same resistance when it engages the Planning Commission in coming months.
As the influential panel prepares for another meeting regarding the proposal at PCMR, a critic of that concept drafted an intriguing comparison between the two projects. Deb Rentfrow, one of the founders and the president of the PCMR development opposition group Responsible Resort Area Development Coalition, posted the comparison on social media and submitted the statement to the Planning Department and the Planning Commission in anticipation of a meeting scheduled on Wednesday.
Rentfrow covers a series of issues related to the Snow Park development proposal, noting that Deer Valley is not seeking an exception to put up taller buildings than would otherwise be allowed, that the parking will be put in underground garages, that pedestrian routes will be improved with escalators and some parking for employees would be put at Snow Park itself.
“This is all in stark contrast to PEG’s proposal for PCMR,” Rentfrow writes.
She lists some of the ongoing concerns her group has with the proposal from PEG Companies. The firm wants to build taller buildings than would normally be allowed, she argues, and she says much of the parking would be above the grade of the land. There is also “no employee parking on site, no escalators or ease of connectivity planned,” she says.
“While I’m sure there will be issues identified with the Snow Park proposal (pinch points, reduced parking, etc), they clearly took a long look at the site and worked on circulation before trying to jam a structure on every inch of land available to them,” she says in the comparison. “The buildings in their illustrations are simply ‘placeholders’ and they still look much more appropriate in design and scale than the PCMR proposed buildings.”
Rentfrow says Deer Valley also “is at the table and taking into account the day-skier, tourist and community. They are trying to create a ‘village’ feel which is a desirable feature of ski resorts.”
“It is quite clear, the Applicant for PCMR is not made up of skiers/snowboarders or summer sport mountain enthusiasts when looking at their plans. They are not proposing a project that is compatible with the existing neighborhood …” the comparison says.
It seemed inevitable the two projects would eventually be compared in some fashion. They are both at the base of a mountain resort, each of them are based upon approvals won decades ago and there has been significant growth in the vicinity of the two base areas in the intervening years, something that oftentimes further complicates development talks.
The Planning Commission discussions regarding the proposal at PCMR have stretched for longer than a year, and a vote, it appears, could be cast as early as later in 2021. PEG Companies wants an approval to develop condominiums, a hotel, retailers and restaurants. Large garages would be built to account for the current parking spaces that would be lost as the land is developed.
The firm earlier reached an agreement with PCMR owner Vail Resorts to acquire the acreage. The transaction would not be finalized until after the talks about the development proposal. A previous owner of PCMR secured 1990s-era development rights that remain attached to the land at the base area. The rights went to Vail Resorts when it acquired PCMR in 2014 in an $182.5 million agreement with Powdr Corp.
Some on the Planning Commission have appeared to have doubts about the project, and there has been broad opposition from people who live or have places close to the PCMR base. A vote by the Planning Commission in coming months would be the most significant by the panel in years.
The Planning Commission in recent weeks started the talks about the proposal at Snow Park. There was limited progress at the first meeting as the Deer Valley side outlined an estimated timeline and introduced the project. Another meeting is expected shortly. Deer Valley in a submittal to City Hall has said “being good neighbors” is one of the guiding principles of the development.
The project at Deer Valley involves a hotel, residences, retail space, dining locations and entertainment. Deer Valley, similar to the PCMR proposal, would build large garages to replace the spots in the lots that would be lost as the land is developed.
In an interview, Rentfrow said the proposal at Snow Park appears to be better suited for lower Deer Valley than the PEG Companies plans are for the area of the PCMR base area. She acknowledged she has general rather than detailed information about the Snow Park concept.
“I would say Deer Valley is trying to be good neighbors to those already in the area,” she said, adding that the resort seems to want to partner with the surrounding neighborhoods and that Deer Valley seems “to be more invested in the community’s goals.”
She expressed that Deer Valley is “trying to fit in with the lay of the land.” Rentfrow would prefer PEG Companies modify the proposal at PCMR in a manner to better reflect the surroundings, similar to what she sees with the Snow Park concept. Rentfrow said she does not anticipate that occurring.
“They would have to go back to the drawing board,” she said.
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