Property owners appeal planning panel’s decision for hotel project on S.R. 224
December 30, 2017
Two applications were filed with the Summit County Planning and Building Department last week to appeal the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission's decision to grant a permit for a hotel project at the former Colby School property on S.R. 224.
Members of the Park West Preservation Coalition, which represents several property owners in Park West Village, and Joe Wrona, an attorney representing resident Andrew Levy, filed two separate applications on Dec. 22 to appeal the planning panel's decision. The project will now go before the County Council for a decision.
The Planning Commission approved an application for a 15-room hotel, 5,000-square foot restaurant, and yoga and fitness studios at the site east of S.R. 224 on Dec. 12. More than 50 people attended the meeting, with most opposing the project.
The vote was 6-1, with Chuck Klingenstein dissenting. Planning Commissioners Canice Harte, Bea Peck, Joel Fine, Malena Stevens, Ryan Dickey and Thomas Cooke agreed to approve the application.
“I’m fairly certain the commission’s decision will be overturned,” said Joe Wrona, an attorney representing Andrew Levy in the appeal
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"Frankly, we ultimately, even a year ago, felt that the Planning Commission had lost their focus and had just become too involved with perhaps their personal desire to see a project like this be developed somewhere in the Park City area," Wrona said. "For the most part, they just began ignoring the reality of the zoning and entitlement restrictions that are in place on the property.
"I'm fairly certain the commission's decision will be overturned," he added.
In 2014, the former Colby School/Snowed Inn property was acquired by Emma Worsley and Julie McBroom. Summit County originally approved the Snowed Inn and related uses as a Class II development in August of 1985. The 1998 Development Code allowed for a change of use in the existing building from a hotel to a school and it operated as a school until 2008. A representative for the developers did not respond to the Park Record's multiple requests for comment before deadline.
"What the Planning Commission is approving is basically a special-event center and with a 100-car parking lot, 5,000-square-foot restaurant and bar," Wrona said. "A conditional-use permit is not a blank check to ignore the entitlement restrictions on the piece of property."
The Park West Preservation Coalition's application claimed Planning Commissioner's committed "several errors and oversights" and the vote was rushed.
"The vote has changed the uses of the property by amending the language to allow the restaurant to stand alone, and the massive expansion of density goes against the original approvals that have governed this property's commercial uses for over 30 years," the application states. "They never should have awarded this new CUP (conditional-use permit) and we ask the County Council to review the concerns we have with details surrounding the approval."
The application further requests the project be reduced in "size, scope, density and intensity."
Planning Commissioner Chuck Klingenstein, who cast the dissenting vote, said the original approvals made the project "incredibly difficult" to review.
"We are trying to take this old approval with a modern-day development," he said. "The one that concerned me the most was the noise. When the original hotel was approved, my sense was they were trying to fit an inn into a neighborhood and be respectful of the neighborhood. But, for me, it was all the other uses that I didn't know if we could mitigate the impacts from. There was the potential for outdoor activities, and that includes yoga retreats, but what about weddings and small concerts?"
Planning Commission Chair Canice Harte, who voted in favor of the project, said the original Class II permit allowed for a hotel of 15 rooms or less and a restaurant. He said the two primary uses are in line with the prior uses.
"Our decision was largely, in part, due to the county attorney's office's interpretation. We were following suit with that," he said. "When it first came to the commission, it was much larger. I'm very happy that the project came out the way it did as a result of public input."
Harte said he was not surprised to hear that appeals had been filed. He added, "I think it is a very personal issue for the residents in that area. It might have gotten an appeal either way."
"For the residents who opposed the project, and for anyone, this is a great example of public input working," he said. "With a conditional-use permit, the way the process works is you start with the assumption of its approved and what can you do to mitigate it."
A date for the appeal has not been schedule, but will likely take place in January. Whether the Council approves or denies the application, the decision can still be appealed to the Third District Court.