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Sun Peak hotel plan rejected

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff
The Summit County Commission has rejected a developer's request to construct a hotel in Sun Peak. Record file photo by Grayson West

Vocal Sun Peak residents are perhaps responsible for stopping a Chicago area developer from building a 275,000-square-foot hotel in the Snyderville neighborhood.

After citizens filled public hearings to speak against the project, the Summit County Commission last week voted unanimously against the so-called Sun Canyon Lodge.

Builder Jim Haft had applied for a conditional use permit to allow for construction of a 326-room hotel/condominium complex about a mile from S.R. 224 on Bear Hollow Drive. A preliminary approval Haft received from the county in 2001 was for a much smaller project, county officials claim.

But Sun Peak has become more residential since developers contemplated a hotel near Bear View Drive in the 1990s. Bear Hollow Drive, a Sun Peak thoroughfare, then provided primary access to the nearby Utah Olympic Park.

According to Sun Peak resident Brenda Lake, "this complex is not compatible with the surrounding neighborhood."

Haft, however, hasn’t scrapped plans to build a hotel in western Summit County. Before the County Commission could decide on his application, state Rep. Dave Ure, R-Kamas, had sponsored a resolution on Utah’s Capitol Hill to clear the way for lodge construction at Utah Olympic Park.

"There’s conversation going between the hotel developer and the [Utah Athletic Foundation]," Ure recently told The Park Record. "We don’t know what we have to give them as the state in order to make the deal complete."

The Utah Olympic Park was the site of bobsledding and ski-jumping events during the 2002 Winter Olympics and a luxury hotel at the facility could help the park begin operating in the black, Utah Athletic Foundation President John Bennion said Monday.

"Hopefully, we have something that helps [Haft], helps the county, helps the residents and helps us," Bennion said. "It would definitely be a good thing for the park."

The Utah Athletic Foundation was formed to operate Olympic venues with surplus from the Games. Despite the nearly $80-million endowment, the Olympic Park has struggled to get out of debt, Bennion said.

So plans are in the works to construct Haft’s hotel at UOP, he added.

"We’re proceeding on getting some land-use planning done and trying to get a plan in front of the county as quickly as we can we’re able to do real-estate planning, we just can’t do real-estate development," Bennion said. "We can still pay permit fees, submit plans and get them approved or not approved."

Prior agreements require the foundation receive permission from the Legislature before the commercial construction at the Olympic Park could occur.

"We can definitely engage in conversations, although, they must be hypothetical until we get the permission from the Legislature," Bennion said. "We’re trying to get as much done as we can."

He’s "hopeful" lawmakers will support Ure’s House Joint Resolution 30 during a special session of the Legislature planned in May, Bennion said.

But first Gov. Jon Hunstman Jr. must place the legislation on the meeting’s agenda.

"[Huntsman] hasn’t committed to it, but he has indicated that he is thinking about it," Bennion said.

House members passed the resolution but time ran out during the 2006 general session before senators could have a final debate.


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