PCMR development opposition enlists veteran from Treasure dispute
The opposition to a proposal for a major development at Park City Mountain Resort has enlisted a veteran of the intense dispute regarding Treasure, which unfolded over the course of years and offered some parallels to the talks regarding the PCMR project.
Brian Van Hecke was a leading figure in the resistance to Treasure and was one of the founders of the Treasure Hill Impact Neighborhood Coalition, a group that spent extensive time on Treasure and retained an attorney in the matter.
Van Hecke was listed with four others in signing a correspondence on Thursday regarding the PCMR project. The correspondence indicates the five are forming what is described as a community action group. The correspondence does not include details about the group and says an online meeting, apparently an organizing gathering, could be held early in the week. There had been talk in recent weeks about the possibility of a coalition forming in opposition to the project, and it appears the current movement is the result of those private discussions.
Van Hecke’s presence thrusts him into another dispute about a major development less than two years after the end of the Treasure controversy. City Hall acquired the Treasure land, located on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift, in a $64 million conservation deal, by far the most expensive in the history of Park City’s open space program. Van Hecke was a key figure in the opposition to the Treasure development proposal and in support of the City Hall acquisition.
In an interview, Van Hecke said people in opposition to the PCMR proposal approached him about becoming involved. Van Hecke owns a house in Old Town but is no longer a full-time resident of Park City. He said the concerns about the PCMR proposal are similar to those that were expressed about Treasure, including the overall size of the project, the traffic the project is expected to generate and pedestrian safety.
Van Hecke said he plans to offer his experience from the Treasure discussions to the group. He said he learned lots about the development process in Park City during his involvement in Treasure. He said the PCMR concept raises a concern about the proposed one-way traffic pattern on the perimeter of the development, predicting the route would hinder access to Empire Avenue for people who live or have properties south of the base area.
The Park City Planning Commission is months into talks about the PCMR proposal. A Provo firm called PEG Companies plans to acquire the PCMR parking lots from resort owner Vail Resorts for the project. The development proposal involves a hotel, retailers, restaurants and residences. Large garages would be built to replace the parking spots in the lots that are lost to the project. The Planning Commission is expected to cast a vote in coming months, but it is not clear when the panel will be prepared to make what will be a momentous decision.
The proposal is based on a 1990s overall approval for the redevelopment of the PCMR base area, secured by a previous owner of the resort. The overall approval envisioned major development on the lots, as well as the buildings that were later put up as Marriott’s MountainSide and the Legacy Lodge. Another approval is needed, though, before the current proposal could proceed.
The timeline is among the similarities between the PCMR project and Treasure. In the case of Treasure, Park City officials in the 1980s granted an overall approval. The Treasure side years later sought the additional approvals needed before the project could be built, encountering opposition from the Planning Commission and the public that ultimately led to negotiations that resulted in the City Hall acquisition.
The Planning Commission is scheduled to continue the talks about the proposal at a meeting on Wednesday.
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