Provo developer leads tour of PCMR project, flying balloons along the way
A Provo developer on Wednesday led dozens of people on a tour of the Park City Mountain Resort parking lots, describing how the firm wants to transform the ground into a major project that has been envisioned for more than two decades.
Several dozen Parkites joined PEG Companies, the Park City Planning Commission and City Hall staffers as they walked from lot to lot on a hot day on the asphalt. PEG Companies has reached an agreement to acquire the lots from PCMR owner Vail Resorts and is currently engaged in talks with the Planning Commission about the development proposal. The tour on Wednesday was part of the Planning Commission review, and it allowed the panel and the public a rare opportunity to walk the land with the developer. PEG Companies flew a series of balloons designating locations where buildings would be put under the proposal and the building heights. The balloons were a key visual element on Wednesday since they showed locations and heights, two of the issues the Planning Commission is expected to spend time on later as well as two of the topics the public is closely monitoring.
Wind blew the balloons at an angle during much of the tour, meaning they were not flying at the full height, but even at an angle they illustrated that there will be a series of buildings climbing into the air in a location that has been left as parking lots for decades and has offered unobstructed views of the slopes from surrounding properties during that time.
A map distributed during the tour provided detailed information about the building heights shown by the balloons. The tallest location in the project would be put at the intersection of Empire Avenue and Shadow Ridge Road, toward the northeast corner of the upper lot. The building there would reach 87 feet in height, according to the map. There are other locations reaching at least 80 feet in height as well as additional spots in the range of 50 feet and 60 feet in height, bottoming out at 49 feet along Empire Avenue in a location between Shadow Ridge Road and Manor Way.
The proposed heights will almost certainly be heavily debated by the Planning Commission, and many people following the discussions have appeared to be especially interested in the topic. There are residential properties on the border of the PCMR lots, essentially across the street from the location of some of the buildings proposed in the project. The people who live in those bordering buildings or own places in them, it seems, could eventually become concerned about the possibility of obstructed views or other concerns that sometimes are raised when taller buildings are proposed nearby. There are sometimes worries that obstructed views reduce property values, as an example.
Robert Schmidt, who is the president of PEG Development, led the tour, pointing out a variety of locales involved in the project. He highlighted where in the lower lot the entry to a hotel could be put and noted that condominiums and workforce housing may be placed toward the southwest corner of the lots. He also spoke about the large garages that would be built to account for the parking spots that would be lost as the lots are developed.
The people on the tour peppered Schmidt with questions, providing a rare opportunity for the public to directly question a developer during a Planning Commission gathering. He briefly addressed topics like pedestrian access on the border of the project, as well as through the development, and the entry and exit locations to the parking. There was concern expressed by a person on the tour about the route to their residence under the traffic flow that is under consideration.
The PEG Companies proposal is based on a 1990s-era overall development approval secured by a previous owner of PCMR. The overall approval included the rights to what were eventually built as Marriott’s MountainSide and the Legacy Lodge, but the bulk of the rights remain attached to the lots that are involved in the current proposal.
The PEG Companies’ blueprints put to the Planning Commission, covering 10 acres, involves condominiums, a hotel, retailers and restaurants. There would be housing for employees and housing that is set aside as affordable. A location for a National Ability Center building is included, as are plazas in the upper and lower sections of the project. Bicycle lanes and sidewalks are proposed on nearby roads. Transit improvements are proposed on Lowell Avenue.
The Planning Commission will likely spend extensive time in coming months on the proposal with the possibility of a vote later in 2020, perhaps in November. The PEG Companies acquisition of the lots is not expected to be completed until after a Planning Commission decision. Colorado-based Vail Resorts has moved away from the role of developer and instead has reached agreements with others wanting to build projects at the firm’s resorts.
Speaking with The Park Record, several council members expressed a desire for better lines of communication with the mayor’s office. The mayor provided a statement saying she believes councilor Rachel Kahler wants to control her office.
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