Provo firm accused of distorting images of Park City project with non-existent mountainsides
Developer says the renderings of PCMR proposal are not designed to be misleading
A group in opposition to a major development proposal at Park City Mountain Resort on Wednesday accused the Provo firm pursuing the project of using misleading images in support of the plan, a claim that was made in the weeks after the group itself employed deceptive images to promote its side.
The Responsible Resort Area Development Coalition during a Park City Planning Commission meeting showed two slides contrasting computer-generated images created by the PEG Companies’ side with photographs taken of the same location. In both of the slides, the computer-generated images from the developer’s side showed mountainous terrain in the background that, according to the opposition, is not part of the actual landscape.
The mountainous terrain in the background of the developer’s images could be seen as lessening the prominence of the proposed buildings in the foreground of the project visuals that were presented.
The Responsible Resort Area Development Coalition slides shown at the Planning Commission meeting indicated “Misleading and distorted exhibits lead to false impressions.” They also included red X marks in locations on the computer-generated images where the opposition says mountainous terrain is not actually present.
In one of the cases, the opposition on a slide said the images from the developer show “mountains where there are no mountains” and “runs where there are no runs.” In the other case, the opposition in a slide said, in part, “there is no rising mountain to the northwest” of a section of the land under consideration for development.
“What I see is that they are misleading. … They are clearly not to scale with the actual area that is being developed,” the president of the Responsible Resort Area Development Coalition, Deb Rentfrow, said in a later interview.
PEG Companies after the meeting on Wednesday provided a prepared statement regarding the images at the request of The Park Record.
“The building height and scale are accurate in these images. None of our renderings are intended to mislead the public, quite the opposite. They are intended to help the Planning Commission and general public visualize the proposed design in its context. The winter image used as a background approximated the location and scale of the mountains,” Robert Schmidt, the president of PEG Development, said in the statement.
The concerns raised by the Responsible Resort Area Development Coalition regarding the images follow shortly after questions about the veracity of the organization’s own efforts. The Responsible Resort Area Development Coalition website earlier showed a misleading juxtaposition of images that included one highlighting the location of the PCMR project kitty-corner to a photograph including Old Town and a section of the City Hall-owned Treasure acreage overlooking Old Town. The PCMR project is proposed at the base area, blocks north of Treasure. The website also displayed an image of the area of Guardsman Pass, which is south of Park City and not visible from the PCMR base area. Some alterations were made to the website since then to better reflect the PCMR project.
The question-raising images from both sides illustrate what has appeared to be building tension recently nearly a year after the Planning Commission started the discussions about the project. The Planning Commission, it seems, is preparing to cast a vote on the project in coming months although a timeline for a decision is not known.
The Planning Commission’s recent meetings about the project have appeared to be especially difficult with discussions like the one on Wednesday lasting hours but seeming to only result in modest progress.
PEG Companies in 2019 reached an agreement with PCMR owner Vail Resorts to acquire the resort’s parking lots for the development. A previous owner of the resort in the 1990s secured an overall approval for the redevelopment of the base area that included rights to build on the land where the resort’s parking lots are currently located. The rights went to Vail Resorts when it acquired PCMR.
The 10-acre development proposal involves a hotel, residences, retailers and restaurants. The project would include large garages to replace the parking spots in the lots that would be lost to the development.
The opposition is worried about numerous issues like the size of the buildings and the traffic that the project would attract. The developer’s side says the building designs are appropriate and measures would be taken to address the traffic. There has been significantly more opposition than support for the project over the course of the Planning Commission hearings.
The Planning Commission on Wednesday, meeting virtually as City Hall continues to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, held another hearing that drew additional comments from opponents. Critics worried about topics like whether the project includes enough parking, the height of the proposed buildings compared to those nearby and air quality. John Stafsholt, a critic, maintained that the project would not benefit the community as it is currently designed and instead is meant to maximize the profit of the developer.
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