Treasure talks continue as sides await critical traffic numbers
Panel scheduled to address issues like noise, landscaping and fences
The Treasure partnership on Wednesday is poised to continue the discussions about the project with the Park City Planning Commission, but the meeting this week could lack the tension of earlier ones as the various sides await the results of a critical traffic study conducted earlier in the ski season.
The Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss items that do not appear to have the same potency as issues the panel addressed over the months of discussions like square footage and traffic. Topics that are expected to be tackled on Wednesday include fences, landscaping and other screening methods meant to separate the project from the surrounding neighborhood, signs, lighting and certain categories of open space. The Planning Commission could also discuss noise, vibration and mechanical equipment that could impact the neighborhood.
Many of the topics have been broached over the years of the Treasure discussion, particularly concerns about project-related noise wafting into the neighborhood, but the Planning Commission discussion could provide further insight into whether the issues will become overriding or whether the Treasure side could easily address them.
The meeting on Wednesday could offer a respite from the difficult discussion about traffic. The Treasure side conducted a traffic study at key intersections over the busy Presidents Day weekend. The results are not yet available. A City Hall report drafted in anticipation of the meeting on Wednesday indicates the study results will be ready for a Planning Commission meeting scheduled on May 10. The meeting in May will likely be watched more closely than the one on Wednesday if the results are ready by then. The report says the Treasure traffic engineer “simply has run out of time in order to meet” deadlines for the meeting on Wednesday.
The Treasure partnership, consisting of the Sweeney family and a firm called Park City II, LLC, argues streets like Lowell Avenue and Empire Avenue can accommodate project-related traffic when coupled with planned road improvements and Treasure’s own transportation plans. Critics, though, contend the Treasure traffic will overwhelm the streets. Both sides are anticipated to use the results of the traffic study to embolden their arguments regarding one of the crucial issues of Treasure.
The Treasure proposal involves upward of 1 million square feet of development – residences, commercial space, meeting space, common area and so-called back-of-house space — on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift. The Sweeney family secured an overall approval for development on the Treasure land and nearby parcels in the 1980s and the partnership must now win another nod before work can start.
The Planning Commission has appeared to be skeptical of the proposal, repeatedly raising concerns about the square footage, the size of the project and the anticipated traffic. It is not clear, though, how the opinions about the earlier topics will influence the discussions about other issues like the ones that are scheduled to be addressed on Wednesday.
The City Hall report touches on the need for details regarding fencing and lighting. It also says details are needed regarding noise, vibrations, odors and other potential impacts. The report says the Treasure side has not provided details about “factors that might affect people and property off-site, other than the distance from potential sound source at proposed outdoor use areas.”
The report, though, acknowledges that staffers have found the project meets the requirements for open space as outlined in the overall approval. Staffers want to learn whether the Planning Commission agrees. The Treasure side has long touted the hillside open space as a project benefit, saying the project is designed to be concentrated toward the bottom of the land rather than stretching up the hillside.
The meeting on Wednesday is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. in the Park City Council chambers at the Marsac Building. A hearing is planned.
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A group of Park City residents on Monday night criticized the prospects of City Hall developing a workforce or otherwise affordable housing project in Old Town. The people at a Marsac Building event raised a range of issues.