Letters to the Editor,
Snowed Inn proposal is far from ‘low impact’
There comes a point when someone just has to say it like it is: anything that includes a yoga studio, a 5,000-foot restaurant and 40 cabins cannot in any stretch of the truth be called "low impact."
I am very familiar with the low impact process as demonstrated by the near-hotel sized home addition that was squeezed next door to me under the same permit process now facing the ParkWest Village residents.
Given the tremendous impact the resulting "low-impact" construction has on our view, privacy, light, as well as the feel of our neighborhood, one has to ask if the permit criteria are just pro forma.
If the bar the Planning Commission has set for "low impact" is a 55-room hotel or an addition that is larger than the original structure, we are in big trouble.
Would someone please tell the Commission that it is frankly outrageous to expect residents to accept their definition of "low impact"?
Maybe it is just a question of semantics, but for the sake of respecting the intelligence of our community, let’s not pretend attaching it a "low impact" permit actually makes it low impact.
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Parkites have vested interest in protecting climate from change
My husband and I recently moved to this area because of its physical beauty and its emphasis on outdoor activities. Yet I understand that last year was one of the leanest ever for snowfall, and I worry that the effects of global warming will create a "new normal" of patchy snow on mountain peaks and local reservoirs with bathtub rings. So I’m heartened to learn that I live in a community that is taking dramatic action to combat climate change. I love knowing that I’m surrounded by neighbors like Bryn Carey, who is attending the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21) in Paris. I’ve also learned that Park City has formally stated that reducing carbon emissions, conserving energy, and striving for zero carbon emissions by 2032 are critical to the health of the city. Knowing the community shares my concerns validates my decision to relocate here.
Addressing the issue of climate change helps both the environment and local, ski industry-based businesses. But additional steps are needed to meet the 2-degree Celsius limit accepted as the cap to manageable warming. Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) has constructed a detailed plan to introduce a fee on carbon-based fuels with resultant revenues returned to households. An independent analysis of this plan demonstrated a dramatic decrease in greenhouse gases, improved human health, and a slight rise in GNP as compared with no action. British Columbia adopted a similar plan in 2008 and has experienced these trends.
Strong actions to reduce the risks of climate change are necessary to preserve Park City’s outdoor lifestyle, stunning beauty, and business interests, as well as the health of its residents. The United States can act as a global climate-change issues leader by implementing CCL’s strategy. Park City should take the next step by actively endorsing this policy and urging our federal representatives to do the same.
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A different idea for managing trail conflicts
With so many hiking and biking opportunities in Park City, why can’t we share trail access equitably? Let’s have equal opportunity recreation.
Most dogs can’t get enough exercise unless they can run off leash. Yet, people have a right to hike and bike without dogs. Why can’t we pick some central location, Old Ranch Road for example, and say dogs can be off-leash on trails north of the road on odd numbered days, but not on even numbered days. Then reverse it so that south of the road dogs are allowed off-leash on trails on even numbered days but not on odd numbered days.
This way, there would always be someplace where dog owners can exercise off-leash with their dogs as well as someplace where people who don’t want to encounter dogs can go. I do agree that in high use areas such as City Park or Main Street, dogs should always be on leash.
Let’s try to be fair to everyone and preserve the lifestyle we all enjoy in Park City.
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Pass the America Gives More Act
One of the most rewarding aspects of living in Park City is the remarkable generosity of the people who live here. As Non-Profit leaders, we can attest to how the generosity of individuals, businesses and organizations have made a significant difference in our quality of life here in Summit County and throughout this region. As we enter the season of giving, Congress is poised to pass legislation that would allow charitable organizations like the Summit Land Conservancy and the Christian Center of Park City to do even more for our community. We support this legislation strongly.
The America Gives More Act, a bill with robust bipartisan support, is on the verge of passage. If enacted, it would unleash a virtual tidal wave of charitable giving — increasing donations of food to food banks, allowing tax-free contributions from IRAs, and encouraging land conservation by farmers, ranchers, and other middle-income landowners. increasing financial incentives for donations, this legislation provides greater certainty both to donors and charities, further solidifies the ability of charities and foundations to fulfill their missions, and builds stronger and more vibrant communities locally and across America, while helping those in need.
We urge Congress and President Obama to enact the America Gives More Act into law and to increase the roles played by charities in advancing the public good.
Rob Harter, Christian Center of Park City
Cheryl Fox. Summit Land Conservancy
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Dogs deserve to run
The dog on leash controversy is coming to a head. Living in PC for nearly 30 years and owning two big dogs for 29 of those years gives me a little trail credibility from a practical trail user perspective. Dogs need to run. With 400 miles of trails, surely we can find a way to get along in order for all users to feel satisfied and safe.
The leash laws must change. It is just wrong that the thousands of dogs living in Summit County should by law be deprived of their natural born inclination to romp and play on our mountain trails.
Anecdotally, we all have our stories and trail user experiences. I use the trails every day of the year in one way or another. Mountain biking, running, hiking, Nordic skiing and Swiss bobbing are all sports that we do with our dogs. A few moments of common courtesy and a tiny bit of patience will make 99.9% of your trail experience joyful. Requiring dogs to be on leashes when out on our trails is not viable. Multi use includes all of us. Just like a reckless mountain biker plugged in to their ear buds or an inconsiderate Nordic skier unwilling to brake while careening down a busy trail, poorly behaved dogs should be the responsibility of the owner. But poor behavior from one segment of a population should have no bearing on the other 99.9% of us. Summit County Council and Park City Council, it is time to change the leash law to allow for dogs to run free on our trails. There are many ways to accommodate everyone. Designate dog only trails, odd-even day use, leash use within 100 feet of trail head There are myriad solutions to this good problem. Remember we all are here for the outdoors and we have always been a dog town. So let’s act like one and take responsibility for our trail etiquette and make it legal for our beloved pets to run free on our trails.
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It’s time for dog owners to sit up and be heard
We appreciate the recent letters to the editor raising the issue of off-leash dogs. Since a large percentage of Summit County residents are dog owners, we ask the County Commission to re-visit this issue. Particularly with regard to using common sense when it comes to policing off-leash dogs and sharing the open space in our community more fairly.
Thank you Park City Council members for considering identifying more open space areas for off-leash dogs. This is a great start and much appreciated.
Dog owners, this is the time to make yourselves heard by contacting your local representatives with suggestions on ways we can enjoy our treasured community in a more equitable way. A few vocal, unhappy (perhaps reasonably so) non-dog owners should not be the only voices speaking up.
Also, for dog owners and non-dog owners who aren’t aware, there is a Summit County ordinance in place that allows dogs to be off a physical leash as long as the dog is wearing an electronic collar, the dog is under voice and sight control, and the owner is carrying a physical leash. Thank you to the Summit County Council for putting this rule in place. It provides a good option to well-behaved dogs.
Let’s try to work together on this and find a way back to a time where we could all enjoy our beautiful outdoor setting in a cohesive, pleasurable atmosphere.
Brenda and John Lake
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Buses are running overtime, so hop on the bus Gus
To all those responsible,
Thank you so much for supporting and implementing additional hours to the Park City bus schedule. I ride the Pink #7. I have been taking the bus on and off for eight years, I live in Silver Springs and work on Main Street. The bus is remarkably convenient. I often work until 10 p.m. and until now, I was often not able to take the bus because of the bus’s limited hours, now, however, yay, I will be able to utilize the bus for all my shifts.
My husband and I share a vehicle. We have conscientiously changed our transportation lifestyle in order to save money and reduce our carbon footprint. Our ability to live with one car is a direct result of Park City’s amazing bus system. For the sake of our environment, to reduce traffic, and in support of the new schedules, I hope more people take up the habit of riding the bus.
Sue Fassett, Manager
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I have been skiing at Park City and the ski area formerly known as Canyons for the past thirty years. While having a pass at both areas I ski 95 percent of my days at Canyons, primarily due to the backcountry access. I have had the opportunity to get to observe most and get to know several patrollers at Canyons. They are a competent and friendly group of professionals. It has come to my attention that the new owner is trying to break the Canyons ski patrol Union.
When Vail Resorts took over operations at Canyons ski resort in 2013, they refused to recognize the Canyons Ski Patrol union, founded in 2000. Vail Resorts required patrollers to re-apply for their jobs, apparently hoping that not enough union members would be rehired to continue the union. Fortunately, the ski patrol managers valued experience, and rehired everyone. Nonetheless, Vail Resorts was still able to reduce benefits, cutting the equipment allowance, employee comp passes, and vacation and sick time.
Now Vail Resorts is at it again. By combining the Park City and Canyons ski patrols, Vail Resorts is forcing a new vote on whether to keep the ski patrol union. Vail Resorts is currently waging an aggressive anti-union campaign with the hope of getting a "no" vote. Why does Vail Resorts so vehemently oppose the ski patrol union? Maybe it has to do with stock prices and Vail Resorts shareholders’ visions. It is certainly not about the Park City community or the skiing experience.
Labor unions are beneficial to workers because they promote livable wages, benefits, and a fair, safe, non-threatening workplace. Unions also benefit surrounding communities and the company itself. The competitive wages and benefits fostered by unions often stimulate other businesses, or other departments within a company, to create better work environments for all. Career employees then become stable members of their communities, buying houses and bolstering the local economy. Career ski patrollers, with their intimate knowledge of the mountain, avalanche terrain, and area operations, are invaluable to create a safe and efficient ski area, especially here in Utah where extensive avalanche control programs require highly experienced patrollers.
Let’s encourage Vail Resorts to recognize the union and treat the ski patrollers like the highly skilled and experienced professionals they are.
Editor’s note: Monday night, after this letter was submitted, Park City ski patrollers voted to create a new union. The preliminary vote tally was 97 in favor and 94 against.
Olympic venues remain important to athletes
This past weekend, our Nordic combined team had the opportunity to host some of the best skiers from around the world at the Continental Cup Series in Park City and Midway. This was a fantastic event put on by the Utah Olympic Park in Park City and Soldier Hollow in Midway. This event is a great opportunity for the young skiers of the U.S. Nordic Ski Team and USA Nordic Sports to get their foot in the door by competing on the international circuit in their own back yard.
These events are never easy for organizers, teams and athletes to put on, but everyone continues to put on a great event that showcases our sport, local athletes and the beautiful venues around the Summit and Wasatch counties. As I look at Olympic venues around the world, I can honestly say the 2002 Olympic venues still live and breathe the great Olympic spirit that was showcased during the games. I personally wanted to thank the Utah Olympic Park, Solider Hollow and everyone who put in the time, effort and money to make sure these events happen.
Until next year’s competition!
USA Nordic Combined
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A reader argues in a letter to the editor that people who ride e-bikes are friends, not foes and have as much right to the trails as other bike riders.