Letters: More development won’t solve Kimball Junction’s problems
Development won’t solve problems
There was an excellent guest editorial in the Aug. 22 edition of The Park Record arguing that “Tech Centers and ski resort economies aren’t a good pair.” There have been numerous letters and editorials explaining how the Tech Center came into being (including one by me), but it can be summarized by the statement that after much negotiations among the city, the county, the landowner and the developer, the developer proposed a Tech Center for their development. The municipalities did not originate this idea, but they agreed to it.
The guest editorial ended with this sentence — “We are lucky, actually, that it was economically unfeasible in the first place.” I totally agree with this. The odds of future high-tech development on this property are slim to none, and I’m completely comfortable with that. So the simple question remains, why would we want to replace the probability of no development, with the proposal to develop “2 million square feet of development, including 1,135 residential units, commercial space, retail, offices and possibly hotels” on this space?
I can’t envision any scenario where this additional development will solve any of the problems currently existing at Kimball Junction. This is a case of nothing is better than something. I hope our commissioners and council can agree with this simple concept.
On Tuesday at 1 a.m. on Aug. 18, I received the call no parent ever wants, from Sgt. Todd Davis of the Summit County Sheriff’s Department: “Your son Tyler has been in a serious car accident. He’s conscious and breathing, but he’s been airlifted to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City and you should get there, safely, but as soon as possible.” When I arrived, Todd had driven my son’s mom, Kristi, personally to assure her safe passage. Both Todd and his deputy were first on scene rendering assistance, and thanks to their assistance, the seatbelts worn front and back, and the high crash rating of the car, there are four teenaged boys alive today. I’d like to extend my personal acknowledgment of these exemplary officers — Todd has even called me personally a number of times on his own time to ask of my son’s well-being, and both officers went beyond the call of duty in lending assistance, care and compassion towards my son and his friends. It seems these days, at such a divisive time in our country, that many take cheap shots our law enforcement as well as the medical professionals helping to end this horrid pandemic. I want to acknowledge with absolute awe how Todd and his deputy handled the incident and how caring and thoughtful Sgt. Davis has been after the fact. I’m proud to be part of this community, and prouder still having witnessed the actions of these true professionals. And happily, after 48 hours in the ICU and 48 hours in the hospital, my son returned home and, despite the pain and long recovery ahead, will indeed make a full recovery. I’m forever indebted to all of the medical professionals at Primary Children’s and our superlative law enforcement professionals here in Park City.
Stop the nonsense
What an absolute disgrace for the governor to extend the state of emergency in Utah for another month! He’s doing it purely to keep getting federal money … no other reason.
Let’s “Stop the Nonsense” and get back to normal life! Tell the governor he is just plain wrong!
An eyesore for all to see
As a previous owner of an adjacent Saddle View Way parcel and an architect, I am keenly aware, and in support of the city’s ridgeline ordinance. Although we sold that parcel prior to building, I spent a great deal of time designing and analyzing a potential project that would meet with the ridgeline ordinance requirements. The proposed project was to be a modern, efficient 4200-square-foot home built into the hillside to enhance the existing slopes and ridgeline conditions.
My wife and I have been shocked to see the spec house plopped on top of the Finnegan’s Bluff natural ridge, completely dominating the sightline and view corridors. Based on my experience with the Planning Department, I was surprised that such a project could have ever been approved.
Parkites spend a great deal of time, money and energy in an effort to preserve green spaces and maintain the natural surroundings of our beautiful city. With our current influx of families from all over the country looking for the idyllic Park City life, we must be assured that the city and Planning Department are vigilant. It is simply unacceptable to think that out-of-towners can now arrive and take the 933 Saddle View Way violation as precedent to build more eyesores for all to see.
Steve and Kathy Stanton
Stick to the codes
This is a note concerning the home construction at 955 Saddle View Way (the hill behind the Park Avenue post office.)
There is an ongoing request, by many residents in town, wanting to know why this construction is being allowed to go forward. As is now widely known, a building permit was issued erroneously by the city, in clear violation of the city’s own building codes, sensitive lands analysis and land management code 05-62, which specifically states that construction will not rise about adjacent ridgelines.
The short version of the problem is that the city intends to allow construction to go forward, with only a slight modification of the building plan, which still violates the ridgeline by 10 feet or more, as seen from the Park City Hotel, one of the official sight line locations.
The longer version includes, but is certainly not limited to, lack of candor on the part of both the city and the architectural firm.
Besides the visual impact that the construction will make if allowed to proceed to completion, an equal, if not greater, concern is what this construction would establish. It would set a new precedent of a routine violation of city building codes. This is clearly not in the interest of the residents of Park City.
We have codes, or we do not.
Which will it be?
Address S.R. 224 traffic
The letter “Fewer people and fewer cars” in the Aug. 19 Park Record, written in response to an earlier letter, prompts me to add some additional input to the important discussion about the Dakota Pacific Real Estate proposal concerning the Tech Center.
I strongly support adding more low- and moderate-income housing to the greater Park City area. The local economy, as well as the numerous high-income homes in the area, depend on a large pool of service workers, many of whom simply cannot afford to live within the area. The letter states that the “market-clearing price” eliminates housing shortages, but does not address the problem of the service work force. It is well recognized that low-income housing needs to be subsidized by developers and the community at large, just the way the community supports and pays for recreational facilities, bus transportation, schools and much more.
While the letter calls for “fewer people,” the reality is that growth will continue, and it is the community’s job, through its elected representatives, to manage this growth. I would urge the cognizant officials to only consider such a proposal if some major changes are incorporated regarding S.R. 224 as it passes through Kimball Junction. During nearly 10 years that I have lived here, I have witnessed a steady increase in traffic and congestion at the two traffic lights. Major new residential housing on the west side of S.R. 224 will lead to a larger Kimball Junction community that surely will contribute to more traffic problems, and that furthermore is divided in two by 224. The ideal solution would be to put S.R. 224 underground in a tunnel, with appropriate entrances and exits to serve Kimball Junction, thereby separating the through-traffic from the local traffic on the surface. A less costly alternative would be to elevate it, turning it into a real HIGHway, again leaving the surface for the local traffic. Lastly, one could turn the two crossroads into underpasses or overpasses, again eliminating the traffic signals on S.R. 224. There may be other solutions, but my main point is to urge our officials to address this growing traffic problem as they consider proposals to expand Kimball Junction.
R. Michael Range
Will the city fix its mistake?
By now many readers know that the city approved the construction of a new home in the Finnegan’s Bluff subdivision (955 Saddle View Way) that juts high above the ridgeline for everyone in town to see. The only problem? The design is illegal. City code doesn’t allow it.
When confronted with its embarrassing mistake, the city relented and called for a new design that — you guessed it — still juts far above the ridgeline and violates the building code.
Apparently all homeowners and contractors must strictly comply with the law except for the city. When the city goofs up, it’s OK to wink and look the other way. We hope the city will apologize to the community, take responsibility for its actions and fix the problem.
What did we learn?
Now that the Hideout annexation drama is behind us (hopefully forever), there are some lessons that everyone should learn from Orwellian absurdity.
1. Our legislators did not do their job. To propose legislation late in the session with no real understanding of its meaning or intent is malfeasance. What could Kirk Cullimore have been thinking? Is he, and are his colleagues, just naive (doubt it) or just so accustomed to following their lobbyist masters’ lead that they just did business as usual? They absolutely failed to do their jobs the first time, and the repeal vote, while appropriate, is prima facie evidence that they failed miserably at the end of the legislative session.
2. The lobbyist Ostermiller, like most of their ilk, are only interested in doing what their paymasters pay them to do. They pretend to be representing the good of the community, but really … does anyone possibly believe that? If you do, I have a bridge to sell over the East river in New York.
3. Hideout was either engaged in the charade, or complicit in its malintent. Either way it was not an honest broker here and skepticism should abound. What we don’t know for certain is whether the Zoom failure was just plain ineptitude or did someone get a sudden dose of conscience? Likely the former, but wouldn’t it be nice to think it was the latter.
4. The lawyers for the developers. Just doing what lawyers are paid to do. And it has nothing to do with anything or anyone else.
5. Last is the developers. Mr. Romney (Josh) and Mr. Brockbank. They are clearly the No. 1 villains of the charade and should forever be remembered as a pair who were willing and desirous to line their pockets despite the will of the people affected. I urge the city and county to remember their deeds and in the future, if and when they seek to do anything in the county, just say no.
Fortunately for us all, this drama died suddenly. But let’s be sure our memories last a long time and our behaviors are shaped by those memories.
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