Letters: Readers spar over Treasure bond as Election Day nears
October 24, 2018
Back to the drawing board
I don't know when "Open Space" achieved sacred cow status in Park City; it was certainly not on everyone's mind when Paula and I bought our first home here in 1974. We were then and are now surrounded by open space. Three ski resorts covering thousands of acres and over 400 miles of trails.
Things change and now to preface anything, like a bond, with Open Space gives it unassailable status. Park City Municipal Corp. has distributed a Taxpayer Information flier regarding a "$48,000,000 Park City Open Space Bond Election." After reading the flier it becomes evident that this is not at all about open space but a plan to prevent development on approximately 10 acres of the Treasure Hill Properties SPMP 4 (Sweeney Properties Master Plan). The remaining approximately 100 acres are not subject to development in any event. The total cost to stop the SPMP 4 project is approximately (per City estimates) $80,500,000.00. Here is how it works: $48 M for the bond, $16 M in taxes to be collected by the city and diverted from other projects and $16.5 M interest and carrying costs to be paid by the taxpayer over the life (15 years) of the bond. There has got to be a better solution. Let's go back to the drawing board on this one.
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As a long time Park City resident, and not living in Old Town, I cannot overstate how much I am in support of the Treasure bond. Whether you arrived in Park City 40 or more years ago, or have just now arrived, we have all come here for similar reasons … to enjoy the lifestyle afforded by a small town, clean air, the ability to recreate outside in the mountains, and generally enjoy a slower pace of life. Anything that we can do to help preserve and maintain this we need to do!
Having lived here since 1984, I have seen many changes to our town and have voted to preserve open space whenever it has come up. Park City is unique to ski resort town geography, particularly in the West. Unlike our neighbor resorts of Sun Valley, Jackson, Steamboat, Vail, Aspen, Snowbird/Alta, the resorts of Park City and surrounding lands are built on private, (developable) property rather than Forest Service or other government owned land. This is the reason that we see development on the mountains of Deer Valley, Park City, Canyons and Colony.
Our community has benefited from past purchases or conservation of development parcels; think the White Barn, Round Valley, McCloud Creek, Bonanza Flats, and envision how different Park City would be with these parcels developed to their full potential! To say, "I don't live in Old Town, so this doesn't affect me," is being short-sighted and irresponsible to the long-term preservation and enjoyment of our town and our way of life.
Utah's property taxes are among the lowest in the country. It is my belief that any time we have the chance to purchase land that could change the scope and feel of our town, we should do so. If we do not preserve the Treasure property now, we will have given up that chance for ever … think Empire Pass in Deer Valley. We can never take land back once development gets started.
The right candidate
I encourage voters to help Dr. Eileen Gallagher in her bid for state Senate. She is passionate about children's health, responsible land use, and improving air quality. She is committed to working with Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters to achieve results.
I love the unique attributes of our state — our unparalleled snowy mountains, our tradition of caring for those in need and making families paramount, and Utah's entrepreneurial successes, based upon farming and ranching, technology and innovation, our outdoor wonders, and the arts. Eileen shares these values and, like me, knows we have to solve our climate crisis if we want to continue this way of life for future generations. I recently saw Eileen take the time out of her busy campaign and pediatric practice to attend the Citizens' Climate Lobby Western Regional Conference in Salt Lake City. This showed me she really takes the time to learn the details about the complex issues we face as a society.
It is crucial to vote this election and imperative that we do a little extra to help the right candidate win. Eileen is the right candidate to represent me in the Utah State Senate.
Invest in this precious place
Let's face it, Park City thrives on the revenue generated by tourism.
Can you imagine 300 dump trucks and construction vehicles fighting with all the tourists for space on the road — every day for 10 years? That is exactly what will happen if the open space bond fails. And, even a smaller 10 percent reduction will still take 10 years to build.
How long will it take for social media to spread the news of mountain blasting, hours sitting on the road waiting to get to the resort, dust in the air, noise pollution, the perception that we just do not care about our historical town, we don't care about environment, we don't care about our wildlife? All we care about is money in our pocket and building and construction, more and more and more!
The IKON and EPIC mountain passes will turn against this town and everyone will go elsewhere during the 10 year period. Then, what will happen to our town when the tourists slowly fade?
This is our one and only chance — no further negotiations or ways to solve this will happen — there is no Plan B — this is it.
Watch for your ballots in the mail and remember the majority of the cost of this bond is on second homeowners and the resort community.
Invest in our quality of life and invest in this precious place on earth! It is worth it!!!
Jim and Kyra Parkhurst
Hats off to candidate
Josh Mann is an unusual fellow. As a Jeremy Ranch resident and concerned citizen, Josh has followed the ebbs and flows of property development and transportation actions in Summit County for the past several years. He has attended and videoed the proceedings of the Summit County Council and written about the debate and actions undertaken there in the Park Rag.
It is safe to say that he is not enamored with either the process or the level of communication that leads to entitlement of development rights in Summit County.
Josh Mann has taken his concern to a level where the citizens of Summit County can endorse his actions and views. Josh is running a write-in campaign for a seat on the Summit County Council. He knows this is very much an uphill battle, running against Glenn Wright, an incumbent and member of the Democratic Party. Currently the Council is composed of 100 percent members of the Democratic Party.
Please take a look at Josh's communication, there is plenty of it (www.parkrag.com and http://www.joshmann.com). Mostly it tends to support "go slow" on development and seeks to improve the communication with residents in advance of development and transportation policy decisions.
Hats off to Josh Mann for seeking to offer the voters an alternative to the unopposed straight ticket that is printed on the ballot.
The big picture
Based here in Park City, the Summit Land Conservancy exists to serve this community. One way we help, is by providing clear and accurate information regarding the open space bonds. There are 30 years of documents, staff reports, engineering drawings and meeting minutes behind our current opportunity to save Treasure Hill. It's possible to get stuck in the math wondering if the development would equal 10 Park City-style Walmarts or just 9 1/2 Walmarts. But frankly, we'd like to see NO Walmart-sized buildings on the hillside above Old Town.
The people who have been most involved in the Treasure Hill negotiations for the past 30 understand the facts. They've considered every legal option for reigning in this massive development. All of them urge us to vote for the bond as the best solution.
Park City's open space bond is our only chance to preserve the Park City that we know.
Voting for the bond protects our quality of life and our resort economy that both benefit from protected open space. Voting for the bond respects the community's long-term efforts to save the lands we love and the landowner's rights.
We love the forests and the trees, but we, as a community, need to keep our eyes on the big picture. Please vote FOR the open space bond.
Summit Land Conservancy executive director
An indelible moment
There are moments in all of our lives that are indelible. One of them for me occurred 15 years ago. I had just moved to Park City from Seattle and I wasn't sure I'd made the right decision. Where were the lakes? Where were all the trees? Where was the music and the coffee and the real beer?
Then one morning, I went out the back door of the duplex I was renting on upper Woodside and started walking up the hill. The sky was blue. The views of town were incredible at every switchback. And when I got to the top of what I soon learned was a trail called Sweeneys, I was in a completely different frame of mind. I could do this. I could live here. I wanted to live here.
I reside a few miles down the road now, but I still hit Main Street often. When I do, I look up at Treasure Hill and the memories come flooding back.
I want the open space bond to pass because everything about that particular space is close to my heart.
Perhaps you shudder as well at the possibility of such an iconic landmark being destroyed. The crazy thing, however, is there's even more to consider, such as how long construction of such a development is likely to take (10 years, realistically), how many heavy trucks our historic residential streets would have to accommodate (hundreds per day, without question), and how much noise the incessant blasting of dynamite would create.
There's a lot of concern that if the bond passes — a bond that would also protect Armstrong Snow Ranch Pastures from becoming another neighborhood — it will come at the expense of our schools. That's simply not true. Voting for the open space bond is NOT a vote against Park City schools.
One of the most important votes in Park City's history is less than a month away. What do we want the future of a town that gives us all so much happiness to look like?
Right on the heels of utter devastation wrought by Hurricanes Florence and Michael, comes an alarming report in the prestigious journal Nature that mitigation of global climate change will require a massive switch to plant-based eating.
The report concludes that global warming threatens the world's very food supply, in addition to generating scorching heat, raging wildfires, devastating hurricanes, massive flooding, and rising sea levels. It was compiled by an international panel of 23 climate experts and follows the latest warning about rising temperatures by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
A 2010 United Nations report blamed animal agriculture for 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, 70 percent of freshwater use, and 38 percent of land use. Carbon dioxide is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by operating factory farms. The more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.
In an environmentally sustainable world, just as we replace fossil fuels by wind, solar, and other pollution-free energy sources, we must also replace meat and dairy products in our diet by vegetables, fruits, and grains.
Our next supermarket visit offers a superb opportunity to get started.
Solution creates problems
I am responding to Jay Hamburger's article in the Sept. 24 Park Record.
I sympathize with the two houses on Hillside whose stairs end in the middle of the street. Presumably, the owners bought their homes years ago when there was relatively little traffic. The owners were scared by a foolish driver traveling too fast in Old Town and want to be sure that does not happen again. Once again, I sympathize. I wish there was no traffic in Old Town and all the streets were nice and wide and had lovely sidewalks.
Unfortunately, the solution chosen by the city causes problems for the rest of us who live in Old Town. Coming down Hillside, I often now need to avoid a potential collision with uphill vehicles trying to avoid the new yellow stripes. Icy winter conditions will make this problem much more dangerous. In addition, the speed bump is jarring and creates wear and tear on all our vehicles every time we go to and from our homes. In sum, the city has managed to inconvenience all Old Town residents and create a new traffic hazard without solving the fundamental problem which is that, no matter what speed traffic travels, Hillside is too narrow to accommodate two vehicles plus pedestrians.
If the city really wants to grease a few very squeaky wheels, it should either widen Hillside and put in a sidewalk on the uphill side of the street (expensive) or install pedestrian crosswalks at the bottom of each stair case of the complaining Hillside residents and build a pedestrian walkway on the far side of the guardrail permitting access to those few houses (also expensive). Failing that, perhaps larger signs with the speed limit on them and a warning to look for pedestrians might be an inexpensive solution that puts at least some faith in our ability to read and observe traffic regulations and does not solve old problems by creating new ones.
Eric R. Hermann
Contributions could save lives
Park City is the most wonderful and generous town I have ever lived. The outpouring of donations for all of our terrific nonprofits is amazing. As a board member of Playing For Life Foundation I can attest first hand to all of the support from the community and business we receive each year as we raise funds to fight breast cancer. As in years past, we are once again raising funds for the people in our community who cannot afford a mammogram. It is hard to believe but there are many people in our community who are not being screened due to unavailable resources. The research is overwhelming that mammogram screenings and early detection saves lives.
Please join with me and support Playing For Life Foundation during LIVE PC GIVE PC and help provide a mammogram to someone in our beloved community who may not have the resources to take a 10 minute test that could save their life.
A simple test
Live PC Give PC is in its ninth year. Amazing! It is that time of year when we stop and reflect on what is important to us as a community. That reflection helps us see what we have done well, and areas we need to work on, what we need to help those who are less fortunate in our community. Playing for Life Foundation has now raised over $1,000,000 to date to help women, and men, yes, men get breast cancer as well, in our community who can not afford to go to the doctor for an exam and a mammogram. A simple test that could prevent the loss of life. A simple test that many of us do yearly without thinking about the cost. A simple test that many amongst us can not do because they don't have the resources to do so. Playing for Life Foundation's sole reason for being is to raise and provide money for those people in our community less fortunate who can not afford a simple test. As a board member, and someone with metastatic breast cancer, it pains me to think there are those who can not afford a life saving, simple test. Will you join me in donating this year to Playing for Life Foundation and give the gift of a free exam and mammogram? Your donation will go a long way towards serving the uninsured and underinsured in our community. Your donation, and mine, will help fellow citizens of our community to get a life saving simple test and perhaps even save a life. Thank you for opening up your heart, for showing love in our community. Thank you for sharing the love of community through Live PC Give PC and for donating to Playing for Life Foundation. You might just save a life.
Susan L. Richer
Support a cause you love
On Friday, Nov. 9, I'll drive my kids to school and we will honk with excitement at the nonprofit representatives dressed in orange, holding signs asking for financial support on our community's annual day of giving.
Park City Community Foundation is once again leading this amazing event, Live PC Give PC, providing you an opportunity to donate online to your favorite local nonprofit organizations. All day, around town the energy will build until we reach our goal, this year of gathering over 4,500 donors to support the over 100 nonprofits that make our town so special. I love seeing the community rally and come together to raise an amazing amount of money in a short 24 hours for organizations that enrich our lives. Park City nonprofits fill gaps and reach people, puppies and our land at a place of need.
On Nov. 9, let's all Live PC and Give PC. Every dollar counts. Every nonprofit cheers as they receive it and are more encouraged to meet their mission. This November, log on to livepcgivepc.org and support a cause that you love.
Park City Community Foundation and EATS Park City
Sports for our children can be expensive, sometimes very expensive. And life can take unexpected turns. I am eternally grateful as a single mother working for a local Park City non-profit for the financial assistance from the Youth Sports Alliance (YSA) Stein Eriksen Opportunity Endowment.
My son has discovered Slopestyle skiing and cherishes every moment on snow and at the Utah Olympic Park (UOP). Once the Saturday program is paid for there is nothing left for the extras — UOP sessions, local and out-of-state competitions, various registration fees and more. This is not including season passes, lift tickets, skis gear and clothing! How do we deny our children especially when they are so impassioned about a sport … anything?
YSA now supports seven competitive winter sports teams, after school programs for elementary and middle school students and now has a robust scholarship program for junior athletes like my son. Thanks to this amazing program supported by generous community donations, my son can now ski on the Park City Ski & Snowboard Team and even compete. We are so grateful for the support from this community, thank you!
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