Treasure Hill returns to city’s agenda
Pat Sweeney suspects the amount of time his family has spent getting a conditional use permit for their Treasure Hill development project might be a Park City record. Nevertheless, Sweeney says he will attend Wednesday night’s Planning Commission meeting alongside the project’s general contractor and city’s traffic consultant to once again review traffic studies in the hopes of reaching the next step in the planning process. Park City Municipal approved the Sweeney’s Treasure Hill master plan for 120 acres west of town in 1986, and according to Sweeney’s calculations, the project has been in the formal planning process for three and a half years. After two traffic consultants, one hired by the Sweeneys and one by Park City, came to the conclusion that streets could be able to handle traffic generated by the project with the addition of a few alterations, Sweeney predicts Treasure Hill should be moving forward to the next step sometime soon. "I think we’re at the point where we can expect a decision here in the not too distant future," he said. "It seems to me that we did what we were required to do under the conditional use ordinance twice or three times." But concern over projected traffic impacts from the proposed 282 residential units and 19,000 square feet of commercial space on 11.5 acres has been stalling the project for months. At a September commission meeting, 15 neighbors testified in a public hearing about the project’s potential negative impacts on Lowell and Empire Avenues for the better part of an hour. Sweeney says some critics might be disguising their over-all dislike of the whole Treasure Hill concept. "Traffic [complaints] are a convenient way to express your frustrations or concerns or fears or your selfishness," he said. "The root of the problem is that people that are already enjoying their property rights don’t want us to enjoy ours." Sweeney notes his family has agreed to rebuild Empire and Lowell avenues, install a cabriolet to transport visitors from Treasure Hill to Main Street, build public stairs between streets in addition to the projected $2 million in impact fees he expects the ski-in, ski-out development to generate for the city and the public biking trails the family has maintained on their property. He doubts project critics have made similar concessions for their properties, he says. "We’re happy to step up to the plate with everything we’ve agreed to do," Sweeney explained, adding that the family has designated 90 percent of their property as open space. "We’ve contributed to the community as part of our deal with the city and however you want to term it, we’re doing things that a regular person is not required to do." Kirsten Whetstone, the City Hall planner assigned to Treasure Hill confirms that as part of Treasure application process, the Sweeneys have covered 15 criteria in great detail.
"We should be wrapping up [the traffic concerns] at this meeting, since we’ve pretty much addressed everything," she explained, noting traffic and volume the overall visible size of the project are the only concerns that remain on the table.
"We’re not asking for anything else, so it should be a pretty straight-forward review of their plans.’
Whetstone says the city-hired Fehr and Peers traffic consultants will present their analysis of the traffic that Treasure Hill will generate at the commission’s public hearing.
Wednesday’s meeting will focus on three main issues concerning the Treasure Hill project, according to Whetstone: understanding the impacts the project will add incrementally to the existing traffic situation on streets near Park City Mountain Resort; a clarification of the proposed construction plan how construction workers will be shuttled to and from work and how the excavated materials will remain on-site; and a better explanation of the potential road and traffic improvements proposed by the Sweeneys and city staff. "It’s been advertised as a public hearing, but we’ve heard a lot of input both ways, so the planning commission will probably just take some input and continue the public hearing to a later date," Whetstone surmised. Sweeney says he has waited for three to four months for the city to return to Treasure Hill’s conditional use permit, and cannot say what else he can do now other than continue to wait for the city to come to a conclusion. "It seems to me the fair thing to do is for the planning commission to bring it to a vote and render an opinion," he said. "It’s not clear to us what refinements the city wants at this point." The Park City Planning Commission plans to meet at 6:30 for its regular meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at The Park City Council Chambers in the Marsac Building, 445 Marsac Ave.
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