PCMR development: Too big? Too much traffic? Too 1990s?
The buildings could be too big.
Neighborhood streets might be overwhelmed with traffic.
And how would the plans for the development of the Park City Mountain Resort base area, dating to a 1990s-era overall approval, reflect the Park City of today?
As a Provo firm prepares to launch discussions with the Park City Planning Commission about a major project at PCMR, there are early signs of resistance in a community that has for decades been worried about growth. Even though many Parkites seem to generally prefer development at resort base areas over construction outside the densely packed resort cores, the proposal at PCMR could become disconcerting based on the sheer scope of what is sought.
PEG Companies intends to acquire the PCMR parking lots from Vail Resorts and pursue a development that has been contemplated since the 1990s. The firm early in the week held the first open house meant to introduce the proposal to the community, drawing up to 60 people to the Hyatt Place on S.R. 224.
The crowd represented a small sampling of Parkites, but it seemed clear afterward that several issues could emerge as PEG Companies moves toward a crucial set of Planning Commission meetings, probably starting later in the spring.
Some of the people at the open house expressed concern about the overall design of the project, wondered about the traffic and questioned whether the 1990s-era approval of the development rights fits with today’s Park City. The issues, it seems, could linger throughout the discussions between the developer and the Planning Commission.
The first of the open houses, held on Monday, likely offers a preview of the discussions that will unfold on a broader basis in coming months. One of the attendees compared the designs to the style of Manhattan while another desired bolder ideas to address traffic.
The former owner of PCMR in the 1990s secured an overall development approval for the base area. The approval included the rights to develop what has been built as Marriott’s MountainSide and the Legacy Lodge in the intervening years, but it also involved significant development rights where the PCMR parking lots are located. It has been anticipated that Vail Resorts would make some sort of move regarding the development rights, which are seen as providing added value to the 2014 acquisition of PCMR. PEG Companies crafted the 10-acre development proposal based on the earlier rights.
It appears PEG Companies will want to convince Parkites, and need to convince the Planning Commission, the designs work within the 1990s-era approval as well as within the context of today’s Park City. There is evidence at the outset that the task of convincing Parkites could prove difficult even as it will be tough to gauge the leanings of the Planning Commission until the formal meetings start.
The first open house drew critics alongside those who appeared to be neutral and seeking information, and it could offer a preview at some level of the upcoming Planning Commission process. Parkites who live in the vicinity of PCMR, and others who own property nearby, will likely be especially wary of the size of the buildings and the traffic that a development could attract to nearby roads. There was some talk of those sorts of topics at the open house, meaning they could already be gaining traction with those who are learning about the proposal. Designs details, such as building heights, and traffic typically draw the most attention of critics when large developments are proposed in Park City. The same issues were raised during the talks in the 1990s that resulted in the overall approval that the PEG Companies’ proposal is based upon.
PEG Companies has outlined ideas for a one-way traffic loop, bicycle lanes on Lowell Avenue and Empire Avenue, sidewalks on roads close to the project location and transit improvements on Lowell Avenue, an effort to address those sorts of concerns even before they would be raised by the Planning Commission. There has been limited talk thus far about the building design.
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Park City officials are anticipating heavy traffic over a five-week stretch that started on Friday, a sign that City Hall expects solid business over an important period in the ski season.