The Lodge at Blue Sky is looking to add 64 residences amid farmland in a new ‘agri-hood’
Expansion would integrate 550 acres east of the resort near Wanship
The Lodge at Blue Sky, a luxury resort near Wanship, is proposing to add 64 residences on adjoining land in a sustainable “agri-hood” and sell the concept of sustainability and environmental stewardship to its jet-setting clientele.
Micheal Phillips, who owns the resort along with his wife, recently laid out preliminary plans for The Farms at Blue Sky to the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission. Phillips has yet to submit a formal application to the commission, which will likely include a request to rezone the land to allow more density and a master-planned development proposal that would include more details about the project.
The preliminary plans call for 64 single-family lots, a pond, a clubhouse and a pool spread among farmland and greenhouses. The new development would connect to the neighboring Lodge and High West Distillery with a road and hiking and biking trails. The “agri-hood” would encompass approximately 550 acres, though about half of that would be dedicated open space.
“The gardens will have a full-time staff of resident farmers and care-takers. Residents and guests of The Farms will be able to participate in all aspects of assisting these farmers from planting to harvest,” the project proposal states. “Vegetables can be picked for personal meal preparation or given to a private chef to prepare a meal in the comfort of your own home.”
It may seem surprising that people would pay millions of dollars to live year round at the farm-centric resort, but Phillips anticipated that a portion of the project — 24 larger single-family homes — would have full-time residents. He compared it to a golf-course community, just with different amenities.
“People want to be connected to the land,” Phillips said in an interview Wednesday.
The 46-room Lodge at Blue Sky, which opened last year, features amenities from heli-yoga to horseback riding, axe-throwing to hiking. He said the mountain getaway has proven successful, even during the pandemic, and indicated that the natural setting encourages connection to the land.
The property has farms on-site that grow some of the food offered in its restaurant, and Phillips said the farm and greenhouses have become some of the most popular amenities among guests.
“There are quite a few people who are saying, you know, we should look at climate change and we should be more responsible there, and the mountains are a good place to do that,” he said.
He told the Planning Commission that the luxury brand that manages the Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts, had encouraged him to add a residential component to the project.
In the interview, Phillips appeared confident that the concept of a sustainable mountain resort would appeal to the international clientele that frequents the Lodge at Blue Sky, saying that some guests have made it known they’d like to be able to live there.
The plan calls for 24 single-family homes on larger lots and an additional 40 single-family homes clustered in three distinct pods. Phillips estimated those 40 homes would be priced around $2.2 million to $2.6 million and would range from 2,500 square feet to 3,200 square feet. He said the larger homes did not yet have estimated prices.
The larger lots boast 360-degree views that stretch from the Rockport Reservoir to Park City, Phillips told the commission. Some commissioners indicated they would not want to see buildings on top of the area’s rolling hills, and Phillips said he would bring a ridgeline study to the next discussion.
The proposal calls for environmentally friendly design guidelines that include solar power, natural roofs, geothermal heating and other engineering tactics to create smaller carbon footprints.
Planning commissioners will have wide latitude in deciding whether to rezone the land once Phillips formally applies, commission Chair Don Sargent said.
Commissioners indicated traffic, water and affordable housing will likely be top issues.
Two commissioners pushed back on the concept of another gated community in the area, with Amy Rydalch saying those projects tend to create “ghost populations” that contribute to tax revenue but do not generally contribute to the area’s sense of community.
Phillips said that he anticipates traffic to be one of the key issues to solve. He added that he looked forward to working on affordable housing solutions, though the Eastern Summit County Development Code does not require an affordable housing component as the Snyderville Basin Development Code does.
Phillips said the Lodge at Blue Sky employs 77 people who live in Summit County, some 62% of its total workforce, and that he has purchased homes in the area for employee housing.
A lawyer representing the project indicated that it would likely lease water rights from the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, which would be delivered through a new well to be drilled on-site.
Phillips does not think it will be an issue to secure those water rights, though commissioners indicated water was a key concern.
Phillips indicated that he would formally apply to rezone the property in the coming weeks and that a public hearing would likely occur soon thereafter, perhaps in February.
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