Sun Peak residents strongly oppose plan for hotel
Sun Peak residents have braced for years for the development of a boutique hotel in the largely residential area west of S.R. 224.
So, when a Chicago area developer asked the county for a permit a few months ago to construct the roughly 275,000 square-foot Sun Canyon Lodge, they began mobilizing in a grass-roots effort to stop the project.
Sun Peak Homeowners Association President Jeff Kaiser acknowledges that the Summit County Commission in 2001 cleared the way for a roughly 140,000 square-foot hotel south of Bear Hollow Drive about a mile from S.R. 224.
The preliminary approval included 140 rooms with no extra lockout units, Kaiser said, adding that the developer this year proposed constructing a 275,000 square-foot hotel with roughly 330 rooms. "We’re not fighting something of the original planned size," he said. "They have a right to build what was originally approved by the commission."
But citizens became leery when builders asked Sun Peak’s design review committee to support a plan almost twice as large as the original proposal. "We’re making the neighborhood aware and surrounding neighborhoods aware of the proposal," Kaiser said. "There are houses on the other side of the road, it’s a completely residential community there is no commercial space up here." According to Sun Peak resident Jaylene Chandler, the developer has already advertised six-bedroom condominiums for sale at the hotel. Many of the units also have three or four bedrooms, she added. "It is so much larger — in places this is a five and six-story building," Chandler said. "It cannot be a 275,000 square-foot, 330-room hotel it can be a hotel with 140 rooms or it can be five estate lots."
She says she dreads having an additional 378 toilets installed in Sun Peak. "When you compare what they’re proposing to anything at The Canyons — the Grand Summit or the Miners Club or the Sundial Lodge — this is larger," Chandler said. In 1994, county officials approved the Sun Peak stipulation agreement, which was a master plan for the community. Though the development agreement expired in 2004, Summit County planner Don Sargent says the hotel approved in 2001 was grandfathered under the plan. But the Summit County Commission must approve the final site plan. The project will be presented to commissioners Nov. 30 at 4:30 p.m. at the Summit County Courthouse in Coalville. On Dec. 7, a public hearing is scheduled before commissioners in the Coalville chambers at 60 North Main at 4 p.m.
"I believe our chambers here will be packed with people from Sun Peak," Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer said.
However, deputy county attorney Jami Brackin said a public hearing wasn’t required, adding, "you have the ability to decide without one."
"The public definitely needs to weigh in on this," Richer responded.
"You’d think they were building a Mormon church," joked County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme about residents’ outrage for the hotel.
Planners are still determining whether the proposal complies with the 2001 preliminary approval and if the developers should be granted leeway to alter the hotel. "We claim that the stipulation agreement and the whole thing expired in 2004," Chandler said. "They are side-stepping the Planning Commission, saying it was pre-platted in 2001. But it has changed so dramatically, we’re saying that isn’t right." Traffic the business would generate on Bear Hollow Drive would make the two-lane road more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists who use it to access Sun Peak trails, Kaiser said. "This is the first commercial project that we have been involved with," the HOA president added. "There are no plans to improve the road." Sun Peak residents also are upset the public hearing was not slated at the Sheldon Richins Building and they are "lobbying very hard" for the county to move the meeting to the West Side, Chandler said. "I intend to be at the meetings as I hope many of our residents are also," Kaiser said. Representatives from the development firm, Terrace Development Partners, who requested the permit, are also expected to attend.
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