Lawsuit: Sun Peak hotel must be built
Salt Lake attorney Bruce Baird frequently sues Summit County and now wants a judge to decide whether a luxury hotel should be built in Sun Peak.
Hundreds of Snyderville residents who signed petitions opposing the project likely thought they were in the clear when the Summit County Commission shot down the proposal last month.
But Baird sued the county last week on behalf of Terrace Development Partners claiming the denial was "arbitrary, capricious, in violation of the law, took and damaged Terrace’s vested property rights without payment of just compensation and deprived Terrace of its rights to substantive due process."
"Many of the opponents’ arguments were emotional, personal and often based on materially incorrect facts and assumptions," Baird states in his 14-page complaint filed April 13 in Silver Summit Third District Court. "Neighborhood opposition to approval of the final site plan was fierce and vocal."
A hotel was contemplated in Sun Peak when the community west of S.R. 224 was master planned in the early 1990s, Baird claims.
Terrace principal James Haft claims the Summit County Commission granted a preliminary approval in 2001 for his company to construct a 275,000 square-foot hotel near the intersection of Bear Hollow Drive and Bear View Drive.
Haft disagrees with Summit County commissioners that former commissioners in 2001 had approved a hotel with only 140 rooms. The developer applied recently for a conditional use permit to construct a 326-room facility.
Vague language in the preliminary approval allowed for 140 units, which Haft claims included suites with several rooms.
But last month the County Commission wasn’t willing to approve a structure with more than 140 single units.
"Nothing in the record or in the county’s ordinances authorizes [commissioners] to limit the number of bedrooms, prohibit kitchens, separate bedrooms or living or other rooms " Baird’s complaint states.
With Summit County Commissioners Ken Woolstenhulme and Bob Richer facing re-election bids in November, Baird claims it is "clear that the [County Commission] reached its tortured interpretation of the record to serve politically motivated goals."
The lawsuit seeks approval for the roughly 300-room facility and more than $10 million in damages from Summit County in the property rights dispute.
Haft has also appealed the commission decision before the Summit County Board of Adjustment, Richer said.
"They have filed a lawsuit to preserve their legal interests," Richer said. "They also have asked if they could enter into settlement discussion with us we’re willing to listen."
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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.