Woodward Park City’s approval appealed
Scott Nichols doesn’t think members of the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission seriously contemplated the impacts the action-sports camp Woodward Park City at Gorgoza Park would have on surrounding neighborhoods when they approved it.
Nichols, who lives on Sunridge Drive in Pinebrook, is one of three people who filed applications with the Summit County Planning Department last week appealing the Planning Commission’s Jan. 9 decision to grant a permit for the project. More than 80 people attended the meeting when it was approved.
Nichols claims the proposed development, which is adjacent to the Sunridge Subdivision, will also adversely affect residents in Jeremy Ranch. He said the light will likely shine across the road into those homes.
“If you look at all of the Woodward facilities around the country, none of the facilities have been placed in a residential neighborhood,” he said. “Essentially, the conditional-use permit that they filed for hasn’t taken the neighborhood into consideration enough.”
The Planning Commission unanimously approved the indoor/outdoor facility after spending more than a year reviewing the project’s design. Powdr Corp., the company that applied for the conditional-use permit, currently operates five Woodward Camps throughout the United States.
Woodward Park City would serve athletes in several different sports, including skiing, snowboarding, gymnastics, skateboarding and BMX freestyle bicycling. It would include an approximately 52,000-square-foot action-sports center and several outdoor enhancements for riding and teaching terrain. The terrain would be serviced by a four-person chair lift.
“The top of the lift, from my understanding of the drawing, will probably break the ridgeline and destroy that view corridor as you come down Interstate 80,” Nichols said. “The neighborhood just felt that not enough attention was paid to it and what it will mean to us.”
Jill Story, who also lives on Sunridge Drive, filed one of the other appeal applications on behalf of herself and more than 20 homeowners in Pinebrook.
In her application, Story said the project “impinges on our right of use and enjoyment of our homes.” Story’s eight-page application claims the Planning Commission failed to impose adequate mitigation for the project.
The application states appropriate consideration was not given to protecting the aesthetics of the ridgeline or the adjacent homeowners from sound caused by snowmaking and snowmobiles. The application also mentions the lighting impact, snowmaking over-spray, traffic, wildlife and special events.
“Summit County is a special place,” the application states. “Please follow the recommendations in our own General Plan and reverse the approval of the conditional-use permit by the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission. The commission failed to impose reasonable conditions to achieve compliance with applicable standards, in part because of the sound, lighting and ridgeline briefing provided to the Commission by Woodward was inaccurate.”
Tom Farkas, a resident of Southridge Drive in Jeremy Ranch, filed the third appeal application on behalf of himself and 25 other people in Sourthridge and Jeremy Point.
The appellants, the application states, are not only appealing the Planning Commission’s decision, but also the process the application went through, the location of the project — particularly in a hillside stewardship zone — and the indoor recreation facility.
“The aggrieved persons, residing within 1000 feet of the exterior boundaries of the proposed development will be adversely affected by the excessive noise, snowmaking blow over, lighting and traffic generated by this proposed development, not to mention the loss of viewshed and open spaces,” the application states.
The Summit County Council will review the project and make a decision regarding the approval of the conditional-use permit. The matter has not been scheduled yet. The County Council’s decision will also be appealable, to the 3rd District Court of Utah.
”I think we would have welcomed the opportunity to discuss this with the Planning Commission and explore other options,” Nichols said. “But, given where we are in the process and given that the Planning Commission hasn’t taken into consideration our views, it didn’t seem like we had any choice but to file an appeal and ask that the project be turned down.”
Jody Churich, chief operating officer of Woodward, said she is confident the unanimous approval of the Planning Commission won’t be overturned. She said Woodward has worked collaboratively and transparently with the community and the county’s planning department throughout the 16-month process.
“I feel like this project has been property mitigated because of the extensive work sessions,” she said. “The planning process has resulted in Powdr going above and beyond to create a plan that properly reflects the public’s input. I hold strong and steadfast that this will be a phenomenal community asset and support the community’s General Plan, while paying homage to the area’s Olympic heritage.”
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Utah’s legislative general session is set to end on Friday, and if history is any indicator, there will be a flurry of floor amendments and last-minute changes for county officials to monitor.