Record editorial: PCMR lift vote seems almost innocuous in context of relationship with Vail Resorts
PCMR lift vote seems almost innocuous in context of relationship with Vail Resorts
There were some in Park City celebrating this week as the Park City Planning Commission, hearing a rare appeal of a decision by City Hall staffers, ruled against Park City Mountain Resort, and, thus, against resort owner Vail Resorts, in a dispute regarding proposed improvements to ski lifts.
There were Parkites on either side of the issue. Those who were backing PCMR saw the proposed improvements to the Silverlode Express and Eagle lifts as needed upgrades that would better move skiers and snowboarders across the resort as PCMR seems to be so much busier than even just a few years ago. The critics who successfully appealed envisioned the upgrade plan as something that would put further stress on the resort and the community, arguing PCMR would exceed an industry metric known as comfortable carrying capacity.
The Planning Commission majority, meanwhile, agreed with the assertion of the opposition that staffers did not hold the authority to grant the permit administratively.
The vote was undoubtedly a victory for the small group of Parkites who mounted the appeal, as well as those who supported them. Their success against a multibillion-dollar corporation illustrates that individual Parkites retain a significant amount of influence at the Marsac Building, to the point that they can effectively have the decision of professional staffers overturned.
But the outcome this week cannot be considered in a vacuum, especially since PCMR can return with a revamped plan for the lift improvements later. The vote, instead, should be viewed through the lens of the overall relationship between PCMR and its owner, the municipal government and the community at large in the nearly decade since Vail Resorts arrived in Park City, altering the course of the community. In that context, the Planning Commission decision seems almost innocuous when put against the upheaval in Park City in that time period.
Can anyone, even the most hardened critics of Vail Resorts, really see what could be merely a temporary delay in lift upgrades as some sort of turning point that will put Park City on a new trajectory with the resort industry? Or, are there those who are suddenly holding out hope the vote will roil the plans for a major development at the PCMR base area? Those kinds of scenarios are highly unlikely, and Parkites need to understand that.
There was much focus in recent months on the process that culminated with the Planning Commission vote. Those resources now need to be put toward the preparations for the upcoming ski season. Neither PCMR nor the community want a repeat of the lines, traffic and general displeasure with the most recent winter. That is something that did not change with the Planning Commission vote.
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