Residents speak out against Colby School project
The citizens have spoken and the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission has listened.
After a nearly five-hour meeting on Tuesday, Planning Commissioners agreed to continue their discussion regarding a low-impact permit application for a 55-room hotel project. The project is proposed for the former Colby School property and two nearby vacant lots that are currently part of the Brookside Estates subdivision. The site is located near State Road 224, outside of the Park City limits. More than 75 people provided input.
"I won’t get excited yet, but I think the point of incompatibility was very well made," Rick Albright, a Parkwest Village resident, said in an interview. "It’s a neat concept and I don’t think anyone was against the owners, it’s just more about the scope of it. It’s huge."
The comments overwhelmingly expressed concern about the potential impacts, such as noise, light pollution and traffic, that the project could have on the surrounding neighborhoods, particularly Parkwest Village, said Mike Franklin, chair of the Planning Commission. Only one person voiced support for the project, Franklin said.
"The neighbors were against the project and we need that input. It really helps us when they come out and we really appreciate it," Franklin said. "They stuck around until the end and I think everyone had an opportunity to speak.
"We did have one resident say, ‘Hey guys open up your eyes because this is a great opportunity and this is not something that we typically do,’" Franklin said.
The applicant is requesting approval for 40 individual "eco-cabins," 15 hotel rooms in the existing building that formerly housed the Colby School, an event and function center and a 4,900-square-foot restaurant.
The restaurant, a yoga/Pilates studio and the individual cabins, ranging in size from 350 to 700 square feet, would be located on the Brookside lots and require approval for an expansion of the allowed uses. The Colby School property is currently zoned Rural Residential. The entire project would cover 13 acres.
"That’s what we are struggling with, is how to make a determination on rural residential area versus a resort-type of structure. The commission struggled with that a bit," Franklin said. "We don’t have good tools at this time. We are trying to build up our tool box to deal with these types of things and as we go forward with Phase 2 of the General Plan we will have more of those tools together."
Commissioners agreed to schedule a future work session and public hearing to revisit the application. A date has not been set.
"We really need more of a full blown site plan," Franklin said. "We need to know what kind of traffic studies we can draw upon and how much this will impact (State Road) 224. I think most of the commissioners, as a whole, think that the project is somewhat viable. We just don’t know how to get Point B and we need to flush it out a little more."
The commission will ultimately forward a recommendation to Summit County Community Development Director Pat Putt, who will make the final determination.
The property was acquired last December by Emma Worsley and Julie McBroom. The native Australians have lived in Park City for four years and plan to develop the site as a wellness center.
In a statement to The Park Record via email, Worsley and McBroom stated that a "significant effort has been put forth over the past year in all aspects of design and predevelopment."
"The vision for our business and the Colby property’s existing rights fit beautifully together. We look forward to advancing our vision on our property and welcoming the community with open arms," the statement said.
Albright said he fears a project like the one proposed could alter the atmosphere of the neighborhood.
"I’m really on the fence about it. I might be OK with something redone in that school with the existing structures," Albright said. "But I feel like this was pushed through really quickly."
To view the Planning Department staff report about the project, go to http://summitcounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/2836.
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