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Park City

Planning commission approves Sommet Blanc, strongly encourages city council to make Twisted Branch Road public

Sommet Blanc
Park City Municipal/Sommet Blanc
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A rendering of the Sommet Blanc project on Marsac Avenue.

The Park City Planning Commission approved 49 more residential units in upper Deer Valley Wednesday night as part of the Sommet Blanc development. The fate of a private street to the top of Empire Pass may soon be decided too.

After almost an entire year of meetings for the Sommet Blanc development on Marsac Avenue, the Park City Planning Commission voted to approve the project on Wednesday night.

Sommet Blanc will build 49 new residential units and a 3,600 square foot restaurant at the base of Deer Valley’s Ruby Express chairlift.

Also part of Wednesday’s approval was the fate of that development’s access to the private Twisted Branch Road, which parallels SR 224 to the top of Empire Pass. Sommet Blanc agreed to give up access to the road as part of getting approval for the project.

Commissioners also voted to “direct and strongly recommend” that the Park City Council consider requiring the road’s owner, REDUS, to petition the Utah Department of Transportation to take over the road and make it public. The commission maintains the city council has this ability according to the 2007 Flagstaff Development Agreement that governs the area.

Commissioner Laura Suesser said it was time for the city council to get involved.

“I think there’s momentum behind it," Suesser said. "There was a letter from Deer Valley that Deer Valley wants to see this happen, the public wants to see this happen, It’s a safety issue, it’s something that was contemplated in the development agreement back in 1999, and I think it’s high time that the city council state publicly that this should move forward and direct the developer to petition the state. Upon that request, the developer is required to move forward with that petition to the state.”

Recent accidents on SR 224 involving dump trucks have drawn attention to the safety of the road. The last stretch from the Montage to Empire Pass is steep with large dropoffs and critics have been vocal about finding a way to grant public access to Twisted Branch.

Community member Mark Fischer has been an outspoken advocate for public access to Twisted Branch for years and said he was encouraged by Wednesday’s progress.

“My main issue has always been public safety, public safety, public safety," said Fischer. "Having used that road a lot over the last 20 years and watched the increase in volume, as a father of four, I’m just wanting the record to indicate my great support for some of the comments I’ve heard from the commissioners about opening the discussion aggressively with UDOT. The city has to take leadership.” 

According to a staff report released before the meeting, the city does not know if UDOT plans to alter SR 224. A representative for REDUS did not speak at Wednesday’s meeting.