Record editorial: Developer of PCMR parking lots takes on a tall task
It appears a development at Park City Mountain Resort that has been looming for more than two decades will finally come to fruition.
PCMR owner Vail Resorts on Thursday announced it has reached an agreement to sell the parking lots at the resort’s base to Provo development firm PEG Companies, which will design a mixed-use project on the 10-acre site. The firm has indicated it will waste little time in getting the project moving and said it could submit a proposal to the Park City Planning Commission by this time next year.
The reaction to the announcement among Parkites was sprinkled with skepticism. That’s not surprising in a community wary of development and concerned about corporate influence, but it illustrates the care the developer must take to ensure the project aligns with Parkites’ vision for the community.
That responsibility is especially important in light of the fact an overall development approval was granted for the lots in the 1990s, before the post-Olympic boom. Park City has changed dramatically in the 20-plus years since, raising the question of whether the focus of the leaders of that era who granted the approval aligns with the priorities Parkites of today deem critical.
It may have been difficult for the leaders of that time, for instance, to predict the sort of transit infrastructure that will be vital in a current reimagining of the PCMR base area. There is a much greater focus on alternative transportation in Park City nowadays, necessitating that elements like a transit hub that allows skiers and snowboarders to more easily access the resort without driving are prioritized in the plan the developer ultimately crafts. Likewise, it’s important that parking facilities operate efficiently and are capable of meeting demand at a time when skiers, Epic passes in hand, are flocking to PCMR.
While the City Hall review for the PCMR lots is not expected to be nearly as contentious as the one the Treasure partnership undertook when it engaged the Planning Commission in talks about a major development on the hillside overlooking Main Street, the mess that Treasure became illustrates the difficulty of designing a project based on planning documents approved many years prior.
To its credit, PEG Companies has indicated it intends to begin the process with a public outreach phase that will shape the project, even though the firm is under no obligation to do so.
Parkites who have feedback about the project should take full advantage of any opportunity that arises before a development first envisioned years ago at the base of PCMR’s slopes takes shape.
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The days are becoming shorter and students in the Park City School District headed back to classes on Tuesday, two of the surest signs the summer is ending soon.