Letters to the Editor, Aug. 26-29, 2017
Submissions from Park Record readers
East side planning commissioner should acknowledge conflict of interest
In 2001, I was one of three Summit County Commissioners who approved the sprawling Promontory development on the eastern side of the Snyderville Basin. For many months I watched the applicant, Rich Sonntag, describe this large, second-home project. Rich knows his stuff, has an extensive background in large, resort developments, and we were finally able to reach an agreement. But as a Commission, we were adamant that their Browns Canyon acreage would remain undeveloped.
Fast forward 16 years, and Promontory, with setbacks here and there, is now dotted with many dozens of luxury homes. In 2006, its developers were granted an additional 250 homes on the western end of Browns Canyon, and a few months back a new project was unveiled of 432 multi-family units, 228 twin homes, and 360 buildable lots, including 350 hotel rooms, and much, much more.
This development is one of the largest ever considered by the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission (ESCPC), with impacts to roads, schools, and the rural character of this area. It’s a big deal.
On June 1, the ESCPC went on a site visit to the proposed area, followed by a public meeting in Kamas, with very good attendance. But it was surprising that Planning Commissioner Rich Sonntag, who was also listed as the applicant, led the tour of his fellow commissioners, and was present at the presentation of the project. That got my attention.
Mr. Sonntag should have recused himself from any contact with his fellow commissioners, and should not have been present at the public hearing either. I addressed this conflict and, during my public comments, I asked that he step down from the commission. He refused, and didn’t see any problem with this duality. I contacted most of the members of the Summit County Council and asked them to act, and in an executive session they received assurances from Mr. Sonntag that he would not be the front person for the project anymore, but would stay involved.
The project itself will go through the process, and that’s appropriate, but I still believe that Mr. Sonntag should remove himself from the East Side Planning Commission. The line has been crossed, the damage has been done, and the public trust has been eroded. I know I am not alone in my concerns.
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Tough questions ahead about allowable uses on Bonanza Flat
The ballot initiative for protection of Bonanza Flats stated passage of a bond that would be “to acquire, improve and forever preserve open space, park and recreational land located in Bonanza Flats.” We all were so happy about preserving Bonanza Flats from development. It is one of the last beautiful, pristine places left in this area.
“Use” of the land has now been introduced. Activities such as hiking, biking, trail running, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are options that have been discussed. These are good options, although we have so many biking trails, hiking trails, running trails, etc., in that area and all around Park City.
The other options that are disturbing are camping, riding horses, hunting, motorized vehicles and group events. Camping could include campers, bathrooms, parking lots, and trailers. Riding horses could also involve bringing the horses in by trailer. Hunting does not sound like a good idea if you are a biker or hiker. ATVs and snowmobiles would involve a trailer to pull them to the site, not to mention the noise and pollution they cause. Lastly, for group events, we have enough sites in Park City for that. All of these activities would bring trailers, traffic, parking problems, etc. to this beautiful area.
The Guardsman Road is very congested already. Parking is at a minimum. Driving to Bloods Lake, especially on the weekends, is a nightmare — an accident waiting to happen. We don’t need more cars, parking lots and congestion in this beautiful place.
So how are we going to address “usage”? There are so many questions in this regard, such as: How much feedback was received from the survey? Who is going to be involved in the decision making? Are taxpayers going to be involved in open/public discussion of this important subject?
As voters, we thought we were voting AGAINST development on Bonanza Flats. Taxpayers are being taxed for the next 16 years to help pay for this beautiful land to be left the way it is.
Please contact your politicians and let’s try to avoid any further invasion of the beautiful land known as Bonanza Flats.
Park City resident since 1979
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Controversy abounds from today’s NFL to historic monuments
Driving back to Park City from a second home in southern Utah on Sundays in the winter the past 10 years, my wife and I enjoyed listening to NFL playoffs on Sirius radio. The most enjoyable part was flipping between the hometown broadcasts from the two opposing teams when a critical play or controversial call occurred. Same play, real time, two completely different views. Are these guys really looking at the same play? Less enjoyable, but just as entertaining, are the opposing views expressed in The Park Record by our local Park City “historians” on Robert E. Lee. If NFL analysts disagree on what they see real time due to their frame of reference, no wonder no one seems to agree on historical “facts” that occurred 150 years ago.
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Prizes await kids who met PCTV’s Reading Challenge”
With schools back in session and the summer coming to an end, it is time for the Summit County K-12 youth to turn in their reading forms for Park City Television’s 19th Annual “Summer Fun Reading Challenge.” We challenge young people during the summer to read 10 books or 1,000 pages. We have great prizes waiting for the kids that read during the summer including free Seven Peaks Water Park passes, gift certificates/prizes from Jan’s, Crandall Ford, JW Allen & Sons, Deer Valley Resort & much more. It’s not too late to turn in your forms. We have extended our deadline to Friday, Sept. 15. Just get us your filled out form and you will receive a certificate of achievement and a valuable packet of prizes.
Park City Television’s reading challenge forms are available on our website at ParkCity.tv or they can be picked up at PCTV’s studio or at the front desk of either Silver Mountain Sports Club. You can also simply write your books down on a sheet of paper and mail it to us (P.O. Box 2877, Park City, UT 84060) along with your name, phone number, address, school name and grade or even email the info to: comments@ParkCity.tv. We will deliver your packet of prizes to your schools in late October.
Park City Television is proud to host this award winning reading program for the terrific young people of Summit County. With the continued support of our sponsors, teachers, schools, library, and parents, we know that this year’s challenge will have more readers than ever.
Stanton D. Jones
Park City Television
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Real controversy not about monuments, but racism
I’ve read the opposing Guest Editorials and Letters to the Editor the past two weeks in The Park Record regarding the events in Charlottesville. Whether or not to remove Confederate statues is a debate that absolutely needs to take place. However, what happened in Charlottesville was not about the statue. It was about white, male, Christian supremacy, and in my opinion, Amy Roberts in her August 23 column got it right. Thank you!
Everyone needs to watch “Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News Tonight on HBO” (August 14), which can be viewed on YouTube. It is a terrifying 22-minute documentary, in which Vice reporter, Elle Reeve, is “embedded” with white nationalist, Christopher Cantwell and Neo-Nazi, Robert Ray during this weekend of violence. The anti-Semitic and racist vitriol is truly horrific and frightening. And interestingly, never was the statue mentioned by either of these men, or for that matter, those marching for “Unite the Right.”
A reader says the new grading system implemented at Ecker Hill Middle School is failing students, teachers and parents.