Hotel project at former Colby School property back before the Summit County Council
Residents in the three neighborhoods surrounding the former Colby School property on S.R. 224 may be unaware that a new application was submitted for another hotel project at the site less than a week after the Summit County Council rescinded a permit that had been granted for a similar project.
Pat Putt, Summit County’s community development director, refused to process the new application. But, the applicant appealed his decision with the Summit County Building and Planning Department in early May.
Bruce Baird, an attorney representing Hoffvest LLC, the owner of the property, filed the appeal on May 3. The Summit County Council was expected to review the appeal Wednesday at 4:20 p.m.
The County Council previously rescinded a conditional-use permit the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission granted for a similar hotel project at the site. The new application was filed April 5.
Both proposals contain similar plans, including a restaurant, fitness facility and hotel, according to a planning department staff report prepared in anticipation of Wednesday’s meeting.
A letter Putt submitted to the applicant stated that the development was “materially the same” as the project the County Council denied during an appeal on March 28. The letter cites a provision within the Snyderville Basin Development Code that states if an application for a permit is denied, any future applications will not be considered for one year unless the “subsequent application is for a development that is materially different from the previously denied proposal.”
The letter claims the new proposal cannot be considered because the first plan was denied.
In a letter submitted to the county accompanying the appeal application, Baird contends Putt’s determination is “factually and legally incorrect.” He maintains that the original application was never denied so the new proposal is allowed.
Baird claims the County Council determined the previous application was not a conditional-use permit. He points to comments County Council members made during earlier discussions that the appropriate path would have been for Hoffvest to apply for a conditional-use permit in the rural residential zone.
Baird said that is what Hoffvest did with the most recent application. His letter states, “The application is materially different from what was wrongfully rejected by the Council.”
“Although we strongly disagree with these findings, the Council cannot have it both ways,” the letter continues. “The county simply cannot tell Hoffvest that everything it did (at the county’s express direction) was wrong from the beginning but that, nevertheless, Hoffvest is now prohibited by these prior actions from doing the very thing the county now says it should have done in the first place.”
In 2014, the former Colby School property was acquired by Emma Worsley and Julie McBroom. Summit County originally approved the Snowed Inn and related uses as a Class II development in August of 1985. The 1998 Development Code allowed for a change of use in the existing building from a hotel to a school and it operated as a school until 2008.
Hoffvest LLC initially submitted a proposal to the county to construct a 15-room hotel project, along with a restaurant and fitness studios. After the proposal was approved by the Planning Commission, County Council members ultimately determined the project’s application did not go through the appropriate process and that the proposed uses are not allowed in the rural residential zone at the scale they were planned.
Councilors ruled that the property had most recently served as a school and the entitlements for someone to operate an inn at the site had expired or been abandoned.
County staffers backed Putt’s decision to decline the application and recommended that the County Council deny the appeal.
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The Tech Center development proposal seems to have entered a new phase, after county councilors indicated their receptiveness to the more ambitious proposals offered by the developers in their original application, including a new transit center.