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The Sweeney Family Says, There Is No Reset Button

There’s a lot of talk about what will happen with the bond to purchase Treasure Hill if it is voted down. Some say it’s the equivalent of hitting the reset button – the start of a new deal. As Melissa Allison finds out – that’s not the case:

Regardless of your position on the bond for $48 million – a contract has been signed which addresses both scenarios that could take place on Nov. 6 when Park City residents will make their final decision known.

If the bond is approved, the Sweeney’s and Park City II, LLC will be paid $48 million in addition to the $6-million deposit the city paid upon signing the agreement in January. The city will own the property which will be preserved as open space – the details of that to be determined later.

If it is voted down – the city will have until March 20, 2019 to make a decision at which point, many speculate litigations will begin.

There are those however, that believe there is another option.

For example, Old Town resident and business owner Mark Stemler, who doesn’t want to see the property developed, but doesn’t think the bond is a good deal.

“If anybody out there thinks its going to be anywhere close to $64-million, it’s just ridiculous,” Stemler said. “This property is not worth that kind of money.”

He also said people are blowing things out of proportion to which former Park City Planning Commission Chair and Attorney Adam Strachan disagrees.

“What the people are doing is painting a big boogieman scenario where this gentleman XL or Barnett is going to come in here and build,” Stemler said. “This is not economically viable to build at this point. At this point, it may, I agree with you…”

“People, people would disagree with you Mark,” KPCW asked. “People have money to spend and you know, what if it means making more money…”

“I understand, I get you, and bad decisions are made all the time so let’s assume it can be built. I’m telling you, its not going to be built,” Stemler said. “No investor is going be thrilled about buying into an eminent domain…”

“How do you know that Mark?” KPCW asked. “How do you know that?”

“I don’t think there’s any basis for that,” Strachan said. “And in fact, in all the planning commission meetings that we sat through, we had nothing but full buy-in, not only from the Sweeney’s’ but, you know, the people we presumed they would sell it to when they get their rights. Now remember, this is a dangerous gamble, if this bond fails. Because if it does, they’re on a, the Sweeney’s are on a fast-track, they will get a vote on March 30, 2019 under the development agreement.”

Strachan added that there is only one way to stop development.

“Name one example of a time when development hasn’t happened except when we buy for open space,” Strachan said. “That’s the only true way to stop development in this pro-property right state.”

Stemler said a better deal can be made, insisting – should the bond be voted down – the land won’t be developed.

“So, walk always from that deal and hit the ‘reset button,’" Stemler said. "This is how business...”

“There is no reset button,” KPCW said.

“There is a reset button,” Stemler insisted.

“Says who?” KPCW asked.

“By voting no we turn down the funding, vote ‘no,’” Stemler explained.

“And then it gets developed,” KPCW said

“It doesn’t get developed,” Stemler said. “It won’t get developed.”

“I mean, all I can say is that I’ve got 10 years in this planning commission,” Strachan said. “I’ve lived in this community for a long time – that’s just simply not true.”

KPCW reached out to the Sweeney family and asked if there was indeed a reset button.

While Pat Sweeney asked KPCW not to use his voice, he did go on the record saying as the owners of the property, they’ve all agreed to stay out of the discussion, that it’s a decision for the community to make.

Should the bond be voted down, they will move forward with the 90 percent density design as agreed on with the city. However, should the community approve the bond, they will graciously accept the money.

Bottom line, there is no reset button because they have no interest in starting over.

I’m Melissa Allison, KPCW News.