Guest editorial: Park City staff, planning department are ignoring their own guidelines
Candidate, Park City Council
Correction: The headline of this opinion piece has been changed to more accurately reflect its content.
Parkites might be aware that PEG, the Provo developer working with Vail Resorts on a proposed mixed-use development at the base of PCMR, is seeking exceptions on height, density, setbacks, parking requirements, and more as the company works its plans through Park City Planning Commission. What Parkites are likely unaware of, however, is that Park City Municipal Corporation has simultaneously, and without explanation, pushed for and then withdrawn further reductions to the minimum number of parking spaces required by our Land Management Code. PEG is required to maintain 2,223 parking stalls for day skiers, overnight guests, employees, etc. The firm is requesting a nearly 50% reduction of 1,102 spaces. On top of that, PCMC staff recommended Feb. 17 an additional reduction of 400 spaces, which would mean an overall reduction of 63%!
Previous staff reports detail glaring inadequacies in PEG’s parking, transportation demand management, and circulation strategies. But in a June 16 report detailing Summit County park and ride locations and some 1,700 stalls staff asserts are available at these lots, the City seemed to suddenly advocate for what it wants the Planning Commission to accept as an alternative to PEG’s onsite parking requirements. These lots would theoretically have a significant portion of resort patrons as well as 100% of PCMR employees who will no longer be permitted to park at the resort at all. Interestingly, the same staff report also cites PEG’s transportation study which found only 0.6% of visitors to another resort (presumably The Canyons) they studied took public transit; the overwhelming majority preferred alternate modes including personal vehicles (57%), Uber or black cars (25%), and private shuttles (18%).
What PCMC staff didn’t mention is the Park & Ride lots it cited as solutions are not available for use exclusively by PCMR skiers. Specifically, the Ecker Hill lot represents a public private partnership between Summit County and a development group building out The Canyons. It stands to reason the developer may claim a number of spots at Ecker Hill for Canyons off site parking and render this option nonviable for displaced PCMR parking. Another lot presented as a future satellite lot is the Cline Dahl location in Jeremy Ranch. I question if the city checked with the county before providing this park and ride map, as this proposed lot has been withdrawn from consideration. The “Regional Park and Ride Map” presented by City Hall in support of mitigating PEG’s reduction of onsite parking was and remains woefully inaccurate.
Additionally, a number of important questions were posed at the June 16 meeting. Have there been conversations with the County about dedicated resort buses? Will there be dedicated bus lanes beyond the high school to support express service? Are there plans to upgrade choke points along 248, Deer Valley and Bonanza Drives, Kearns Blvd and Park Ave. Was any thought given to the entrances south of the resort from 8th -15th streets. The answers in each case was definitively NO.
Traffic mitigation strategies have been recommended throughout PEG’s MPD process and by our General Plan for twenty years. The City’s contracted consultant AECOM was clear about the inadequacies in PEG’s plan until recently when they stopped providing data and analysis to support PCMC’s assumptions about future mitigation strategies including transit plans, roadway improvements, interlocal agreements, and dedicated park and rides that are as yet undefined.
PCMC’s “transit first” and “car optional” ideas are great in theory, but without a cohesive plan they are nothing more than ideologies.
We need leaders who will enforce our guiding documents to ensure quality of life for all Parkites. I will fight to protect our quality of life on all fronts. This is why I am running for City Council and this is why I’m asking for your support.
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