Colby School hotel project creates ‘massive’ concerns for neighbors
Lisa Farmer Albright and her neighbors in Parkwest Village aren’t on board with a new hotel project that is being proposed near their homes.
Albright and 15 others met Thursday night to discuss the 55-room hotel project scheduled to be considered by the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission next week. The site would include the Colby School property and what are referred to as the Brookside lots, located in the Snyderville Basin near State Road 224. The Brookside lots are currently vacant and under contract with the applicants.
"It’s a massive project that is going to impact our neighborhood and we are trying to fight it," Albright said. "This is the last little community we have. We have teachers and attorneys and small business owners here, all sorts of people and we all love our houses and our neighborhood.
"They are calling it low-impact, but if that is low impact they are redefining it," Albright said.
Albright and several others plan on attending a hearing about the project at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the Sheldon Richins Building. The hearing allows the public to give their input to the planning commission which will make a recommendation on the low-permit application to Pat Putt, the community development director.
As previously reported in The Park Record, the property was acquired last December by Emma Worsley and Julie McBroom. The native Australians have lived in Park City for four years and expressed plans to develop the site as a wellness center.
The applicants, listed as TGC LLC and Hoffvest LLC, are requesting approval for 40 individual hotel-room cabins described as ‘eco-cabins,’ 15 rooms located inside the existing building, an event center, a bakery, yoga studio and a nearly 5,000-square-foot restaurant. The project will cover more than 13 acres.
"We thought it would be beneficial to take this to the planning commission for public review pretty significant project," said Ray Milliner, Summit County planner.
The uses the applicant is requesting have already been approved for a portion of the property, which served as an inn for nearly 20 years, Milliner said. The application is to return to the original vested uses through the low-impact process and expand them to encompass the Brookside lots.
"Now they are changing the use back to the hotel use with its associated accessories, such as the restaurant, and per the code that is the low-impact permit," Milliner said.
Planning commissioners will be reviewing the application to determine if it meets the low-impact criteria. The criteria include examining the impacts the project would have on issues such as traffic, parking, lighting, landscape and construction of the buildings.
"If the neighborhood is concerned about noise or traffic they will make suggestions to the applicant to mitigate the noise and traffic impacts," Milliner said. "The planning commission’s job will be to mitigate impacts. If they find they can’t, they would recommend denying the application. But the planning commissions can’t just deny the project because we don’t want this. They have to find a nexus for denial.
"The challenge of both sides is to find that sweet spot where the impacts don’t affect the neighborhood, but the applicant is still able to have a viable use. The planning commission will have to weigh what’s right for both sides."
Property owners within 1,000 feet of the project were sent notices of the hearing. Albright, who works as a flight attendant, said she was out of town for several days and recently became aware of the permit process.
"I came home from a trip and my husband, ‘was like you wouldn’t believe what is going on,’" Albright said. "It just seems like it has been very hush-hush."
Albright has lived in Parkwest Village since the 1980s. She referred to the project as "urban sprawl that just seems like it has been pushed through" and said she doesn’t want to see it come to fruition.
"It would be a huge development on the left hand side so we don’t want to see it at all," Albright said. "We would love if other people in Park City would come support our neighborhood. It is one of the last little affordable places where everyone can live."
To view the planning department staff report about the project go to http://summitcounty.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/12082015-656.
Meredith Reed was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Summit County Democratic Party and said she sees an opportunity to ride the so-called blue wave that saw a Democratic surge nationally and within the state.