Vail Resorts urges approval of PCMR project, a rare statement concerning development fray
The Colorado firm encourages City Hall panel to vote in favor of the disputed proposal at base area
Park City Mountain Resort owner Vail Resorts in early June submitted a letter to the Park City Planning Commission in support of a Provo developer’s blueprints for a major project at the resort, a rare public statement by the Colorado firm about the disputed proposal that was made public in the days before another gathering is scheduled about the efforts to remake the base area.
Mike Goar, who is the vice president and chief operating officer of PCMR, signed the two-page letter, dated June 4. The letter was sent on Vail Resorts letterhead and carries the firm’s Broomfield, Colorado, address. Goar signed the correspondence with his PCMR title, though. Goar is the top staffer at the resort. He says the letter was sent on behalf of a Vail Resorts-linked holding company.
Goar says the project “will be transformative for Park City residents and visitors alike” and will be “instrumental in advancing” the community’s efforts to boost the transit system. Much of the letter is centered on transit. He also, however, outlines a desire for a Planning Commission vote in favor of the development proposal, sought by a Provo firm called PEG Companies.
“We encourage the Planning Commission to approve PEG’s Application and begin this transformative journey for this development, the City, and the entire community,” he writes.
The Provo firm and the Planning Commission have engaged in lengthy talks about traffic and transportation over the little more than a year of meetings that have been held. Members of the public who are following the talks — overwhelmingly in opposition to the project — have closely monitored the related topics of traffic and transportation.
The PEG Companies side sees the plans, such as the introduction of paid parking as a way to nudge people onto buses, bus-only lanes and traffic signals, as addressing the concerns about the possibility of traffic increases with the development. The opposition, though, continues to question whether the measures will reduce traffic on streets around the base area like Lowell Avenue and Empire Avenue.
“The Resort supports the City’s efforts to reduce traffic and enhance transit for the entire community. We commend PEG for submitting a comprehensive transportation plan for the project, which includes measures to promote local use of transit, provide complementary transit modes and strategies, and reduce vehicle trips, and for its commitment to continued partnership with the City and the Resort to regularly review the plan to ensure it is producing the intended outcomes,” Goar says.
Goar, meanwhile, also says the PEG Companies’ plan “provides the critical framework and infrastructure to help launch and evolve with the City’s Transit First vision.”
“PEG’s transportation plan balances the needs of locals, employees, and guests towards ensuring that the optimal amount of parking is provided, while also providing incentives to promote transit use and addressing potential mitigation needs for surrounding neighborhoods,” the letter says.
PEG Companies in 2019 reached an agreement with Vail Resorts to acquire the base area parking lots for the project. A previous owner of PCMR in the 1990s secured a broad development approval to remake the base area. The bulk of the rights are attached to the parking lots involved in the agreement between PEG Companies and Vail Resorts. The Colorado firm over time has shifted away from development, opting for the sort of arrangement like the one negotiated with PEG Companies. The deal is not expected to be finalized until after a decision by the Planning Commission.
Although Vail Resorts is believed to be intently monitoring the Planning Commission discussions, and likely holds influence since the project will be so closely connected to the resort, it has been PEG Companies and its team of consultants that have appeared extensively before the panel rather than representatives of the resort owner itself. The letter from Goar is one of the most notable public statements by Vail Resorts or PCMR about the project in months.
The development proposal from PEG Companies involves residences, a hotel, retailers and restaurants. The firm would build large garages in place of the parking spots in the existing lots that are lost to the project.
PEG Companies sees the proposal as fitting with the overall approval from the 1990s, but the opposition disagrees with that assessment. The opposition is worried about a range of issues, including the traffic the project is expected to generate, the height of the buildings and other planning-related matters. It is not clear when the Planning Commission will be prepared to cast a vote.
The Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday is slated to start at 5:30 p.m. A hearing is scheduled. The meeting will be held electronically as City Hall continues to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. More information is available on the City Hall website, parkcity.org. The direct link is: parkcity.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/38214/15.
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