Treasure hiatus ends Wednesday | ParkRecord.com

Treasure hiatus ends Wednesday

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

After a hiatus of more than two years, the Sweeney family on Wednesday is scheduled to restart its talks with the Park City Planning Commission about Treasure, returning to the panel with the disputed project that has perplexed City Hall officials and upset people who live on nearby streets.

The Sweeneys and Planning Commissioners are slated to hold a discussion starting at 5:30 p.m. in Room 205 at the Park City Library and Education Center. It is scheduled to last one hour. A public hearing is not scheduled. Hearings will be held later.

The Wednesday meeting will start what is expected to be a detailed review of numerous Treasure-related issues, with the Sweeneys hoping the Planning Commission casts a vote on the concept in 2009. The family has spent the interim refining the project, and officials in recent months have received the revamped plans.

"We’re just not throwing things out there because it’s our fancy. It came from decisions that were carefully thought through 20 or so years ago," said Pat Sweeney, who represents the family and has led the efforts in front of the Planning Commission

City Hall officials in the 1980s approved the overall concepts for Treasure as part of a wider development package that included nearby projects like the Caledonian. Most of the land involved in the 1980s approval is set aside as open space. The Sweeneys must still obtain a key approval for Treasure to proceed.

The Sweeneys want to build approximately 200 hotel rooms and 100 condominiums spread through 12 buildings on the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort. Another 19,000 square feet of commercial and meeting space is planned. The project would be built in two development sites, dubbed Creole Gulch and Mid-station.

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The project would be situated on the western edge of Old Town, close to the Town Lift and off the Lowell Avenue and Empire Avenue. The largest of the buildings would be among the most prominent in Old Town. The Sweeney plan a package of upgrades to roads and pedestrian routes.

It is unlikely the Planning Commission will make significant progress on Wednesday. The meeting was scheduled to review the project’s history and talk about a work force housing proposal that the Sweeneys have offered that combines building some of the housing within Treasure and paying into a City Hall housing fund. Cattan said Planning Commissioners on Wednesday might also discuss where the Treasure buildings will sit in relation to property lines and neighboring houses.

Five of the seven members of the Planning Commission were not on the panel when the last Treasure meeting was held.

"They’re moving toward a vote. It’s one of the largest projects to come into Old Town. It’s going to take a longer review," said Katie Cattan, the City Hall planner assigned to Treasure.

During the previous set of meetings about Treasure, there was opposition from people who live on nearby streets like Empire Avenue and Lowell Avenue. The neighbors were especially worried about traffic, and some critics were leery of the construction and the way Treasure will look on the hillside. Sweeney said he anticipates Treasure will receive a "fair amount" of criticism during the upcoming meetings.

Some of the critics have formed a group that calls itself the Treasure Hill Impact Neighborhood Coalition, with an acronym of THINC, and the leader of the group says approximately 200 people are affiliated with the coalition.

Brian Van Hecke, who leads the coalition and lives on the 1100 block of Empire Avenue, said he remains concerned about pedestrians walking close to the project, traffic and the size of Treasure, saying the project envisions "massive buildings."

He said nearby streets are too narrow to handle the traffic increases expected from Treasure, the Sweeneys should provide better renderings and regular Parkites need to learn more about the development.

"The citizens of Park City are in for a big shock when they really realize how big this project will be," Van Hecke said.