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Park City Mountain appeals planning commission decision to block Silverlode, Eagle lift upgrades

pcmrlifts.jpg
Parker Malatesta
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Park City Mountain is currently in the process of moving the lift equipment intended for the Silverlode and Eagle upgrades that were successfully appealed by residents in June.

The resort says it respects the right of residents to appeal, but "likewise we have the right to appeal."

Park City Mountain has appealed the Park City Planning Commision's decision to block planned upgrades to the Silverlode and Eagle lifts.

Park City Planning Director Gretchen Milliken approved the resort's application to upgrade the Silverlode lift to an eight-person chair and replace the Eagle and Eaglet lifts with one six-person chair through an administrative conditional use permit in April.

That decision was ultimately appealed by four city residents to the Park City Planning Commission. In a 3-1 vote, the planning commission chose to grant their appeal in June, blocking the resort from upgrading its lifts.

The resort is now appealing that decision to Third District Court.

The appeal was approved on the basis that the application did not match the 1998 development agreement that governs the resort.

Commissioners also determined that the application violated a requirement that adequate parking or other plans be in place to lessen the impacts of lift upgrades.

The resort did announce that a paid parking plan would be in place at the start of next winter, but that was not enough for the planning commission. Park City Mountain has since stepped back from its paid parking plans, saying this week that it is still a work in progress.

Commissioners were also not satisfied with the resort's comfortable carrying capacity calculations and how they related to the plans for paid parking.

Normally, chairlift upgrades would be voted on by the planning commission, but the development agreement the city signed in 1998 with PCMR’s then-owners states lift upgrades are subject to administrative approval.

Park City Mountain has stated that because of the planning commission’s decision, it’s impossible to have the lift upgrades in place for the 22-23 season.

Park City Mountain Senior Communications Manager Sara Huey issued a statement to KPCW Thursday that says the city’s planning director made the right decision to allow the lift upgrades, and while they respect the rights of the four residents to appeal the decision, the resort also has the right to appeal.

Full statement:

The City Planning Director made the right decision to issue this permit, supported by her extensive, four-month-long analysis and the advice of three outside experts. There is no evidence that she made a mistake, and we believe her decision will be upheld in this next step in the process.

While we disagreed with the outcome, we respect the right of four residents to appeal the Planning Director’s decision and likewise we have the right to appeal the Planning Commission’s decision. In parallel with this appeal, we, of course, remain committed to working with the City to explore options to ensure that the resort moves forward with these important replacements of equipment that was installed many decades ago.

Parker Malatesta covers Park City for KPCW. Before coming to NPR, he spent one year as a general assignment reporter for TownLift in Park City. He previously was the news editor at The News Record, the student paper at the University of Cincinnati. He loves running, reading, and urban planning.