Council weighs options on potential 224 hotel
September 13, 2013
A hotel proposed on State Road 224 just south of the Park City Nursery has not yet been approved by the Summit County Council.
On Wednesday, the County Council was scheduled to make a decision, but asked the developers to make changes to the agreement. The County Council wants to resume talks on the agreement in two weeks’ time.
The hotel proposal is part of the Murnin-Kilgore Consent Agreement, which originated from a lawsuit that the county settled in 2003. The agreement provided for four buildings of office and retail use at 74,000 square feet. A separate restaurant would take up 6,000 square feet. In 2007, the developers came back to amend the agreement to reduce the size to 71,000 square feet.
Currently, the developers, PEG Development, want to amend the agreement again to allow for a Hyatt House hotel comprised of three buildings totaling 74,000 square feet, according to Summit County planner Sean Lewis. The hotel would have 110 to 120 rooms and would have two road accesses – one on S.R. 224 and another on Sun Peak Drive.
Lewis, who said there is 6.5 million square feet of available hotel space at Canyons Resort and another hotel at Quarry Village off of the Jeremy Ranch exit on Interstate 80, described a growing interest in building hotels in the area.
"[The Planning Department] gets calls on a weekly if not a daily basis from people who want to put hotels in," Lewis said. "This is a hot thing right now, to put a hotel in the Snyderville Basin area."
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On Aug. 27 the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission held a hearing regarding the hotel proposal. According to the meeting’s minutes, Roger Sawyer, a member of the Sun Peak Homeowners Association, said that about 50 people had attended an informal neighborhood meeting the Sun Peak Homeowners Association held with the hotel developers. Sawyer said the major concern was the traffic, especially on Sun Peak Drive.
Lewis added that residents in the area do not like the idea of the increased use of Cooper Lane, which is the official secondary access route to Canyons Resort. He said the developers could post signs to shift traffic away from Cooper Lane and toward S.R. 224 to Canyons Resort Drive. However, the County Engineer’s Office would prefer hotel guests use Cooper Lane instead of S.R. 224 for traffic hazard reasons.
County Council Chair Claudia McMullin gave her thoughts on the hotel proposal.
"Generally speaking, I think we prefer to have hotels in resort cores rather than along our highway corridor. This is a little bit of a departure from that," McMullin said. "We have a huge glut of hotel rooms already. We have many more hotel rooms than any other resort town. We also have a low occupancy rate."
Although the consensus amongst both residents of Sun Peak and the County Council was that the hotel proposal is preferable to the office and retail proposal, there were some caveats with the hotel.
"We need a comparison of revenue impacts of the office-retail versus the hotel," County Council member Roger Armstrong said.
Cameron Gunter, owner and manager of PEG Development, claimed the hotel would be a better financial boon for the county.
"The hotel is going to create much more property tax," Gunter said. "There will be a transient room tax and sales tax revenues off of $6 million to $8 million annually."
County Council member Chris Robinson said the agreement will likely be approved when the developers come back with the requested changes made in two weeks. He said the main issues were lessening traffic impacts and including language that would state the food service in the hotel would need to be "more than a continental breakfast but short of a full-service restaurant that serves the public."
"The challenge I have is to what degree do we as regulators decide how many more hotels or how many more square feet of office space we can withstand?" Robinson said. "These people have a development right – they have an agreement and they’ve come in the front door and dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s."
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