Raleigh Studios project granted sped-up timeline for City Hall talks | ParkRecord.com

Raleigh Studios project granted sped-up timeline for City Hall talks

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

Park City leaders as part of a recent vote agreed to a sped-up timeline to consider the annexation of acreage at Quinn’s Junction where a developer wants to build a movie studio, something that is usually not granted.

The timeline was not widely discussed as the Park City Council in late January cast two preliminary votes allowing the talks between City Hall and a firm known as Quinn’s Junction Partnership about an annexation to proceed.

It appears that it will be a sticking point, though, during Park City Planning Commission deliberations about the project. The panel on Wednesday night held its first meeting about the development. Only marginal progress was made.

According to City Hall staffers, one of the earlier City Council votes outlined an approximately 90-day window for the City Council to cast an up-or-down vote on the annexation. The deadline is April 25, the staffers said. The City Council is not able to cast a vote until it receives a recommendation from the Planning Commission.

A typical annexation is not required to be processed on a sped-up timeline. Annexations, oftentimes involving complex zoning and development issues, sometimes take years to process.

City Attorney Mark Harrington said five or six public meetings Planning Commission and City Council — could likely be held over the approximately 90-day window. Several of the Planning Commissioners were concerned with the timeline as well as certain aspects of the project itself.

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Planning Commissioner Adam Strachan said he wants people available to answer questions about reports submitted on behalf of the project. He said it might be difficult for the panel to find that the project fits with City Hall’s General Plan, an overarching document that guides growth. He mentioned a lack of work force housing within the development as a troubling point.

"Ninety days is not enough time," Strachan said.

Julia Pettit, another Planning Commissioner, wondered how the project will fit with the rest of the community instead of becoming a "standalone industrial park." Pettit said the movie studio does not fit with the community’s vision.

Nobody from the public remained at the meeting by the time the Planning Commission began discussing the movie studio. There had been some interest from the state’s filmmaking industry during an earlier City Council meeting. The first public hearing will likely be scheduled on March 14. There was discussion about arranging a Planning Commission visit to the site beforehand.

The Quinn’s Junction Partnership side sent representatives to the Wednesday meeting to provide a briefing about the project, but there was not a detailed discussion. The developer’s side talked for a short time about topics like the desire to have a bus stop and that the project will create jobs.

The developers have spent years attempting to secure the necessary approvals to locate Raleigh Studios, a Hollywood movie studio, at the site. Quinn’s Junction Partnership wants City Hall to annex 29 acres of land at the southwest corner of the S.R. 40-S.R. 248 intersection and then allow 374,000 square feet of development, including the studio, a hotel, an entertainment center and a digital-media center.

The talks between Quinn’s Junction Partnership and City Hall quickly followed a settlement between the developers and the County Courthouse that calls for the developer to attempt to bring the land into the Park City limits. If the land is not annexed, the developer would seek an approval from Summit County.

The settlement includes a series City Hall-supported restrictions on the design of the project. Still, several Planning Commissioners said their review of the proposal will not be based on the settlement.