Guest Editorial, Sept. 21-24, 2013
September 21, 2013
Dear Summit County Council members:
I am writing to you personally both as a Sun Peak resident and as a concerned and passionate citizen of Summit County, to urge you to deny the requested changes to the Kilgore-Murnin settlement agreement.
Summit County has expended extensive and commendable efforts to direct future development in a sustainable manner. The Specially Planned Area (SPA) process is evidence of this as is the County’s express desire to avoid "hopscotch" or spot zoning. The proposed amendments to the settlement agreement fly in the face of all of these efforts. It is contrary to good planning to allow a limited-service hotel to be placed outside and on the periphery of either the Kimball SPA or the Canyons SPA. Both of these areas, but particularly the Canyons struggle to have the critical mass and year-round lodging occupancy to make the village and its related business thrive. Significant existing entitlement exists in both areas for additional hotel development where it would be better supported by the necessary lodging support services (restaurants, bars, entertainment, retail, etc) in a proximate, walkable environment eliminating dependence upon cars.
Not only will an isolated hotel generate more vehicle trips and traffic challenges for basic services, its proposed location will likely prove to be the low-cost alternative to the resort core properties, essentially "coat-tailing" upon the infrastructure and golf course without contributing to the RVMA.
The developer’s request is based upon their ability to immediately develop this parcel as a spot hotel/motel versus waiting until the market will better support the entitlement they originally sued the County to secure. We should be under no obligation to facilitate speedy development when it is contrary to our long term goals.
The existing 74,000 square feet of mixed -commercial and residential entitlement is consistent with the surrounding zoning and serves as a buffer between Kimball and the Canyons resort cores. We all desire to avoid the spotty sprawl we have witnessed in other communities, where various uses are strewn along their entry corridors. Transient lodging facilities do better and enjoy superior guest experience when they are proximate to other hotels, restaurants, attractions and support. The proposed limited service hotel should be located where it will advance Summit County’s mission of sustainable development with a tradition of mountain stewardship.
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Unfortunately, I was out of town for your public meeting as well as the Sun Peak neighborhood meeting, however, I would be happy to talk or meet with each or all of you should I be able to help. I can be reached via email PTomai@Sperformance.com
Thank you for your consideration and service to Summit County.