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Park City Mountain Resort chairlift appeal set for June 8

Park City Mountain Resort wants to upgrade some of its chairlifts before next season. An appeal of that project's approval has complicated that timeline.

An appeal of Park City Mountain Resort’s plans to upgrade some of its lifts will be heard by the Park City Planning Commission in early June.

A planning meeting has been set to tackle the dispute between the Park City Planning Department and a citizens group opposed to chairlift upgrades at Park City Mountain Resort. The two sides are scheduled to meet June 8.

The resort was granted administrative approval for chairlift upgrades on April 25th, but a group of citizens appealed that decision earlier this month.

The resort plans to upgrade the Silverlode lift to a eight-person chair, and the Eagle and Eaglet lifts will be converted into a six-person chair.

Critics of the plans say the decision should have been made by the planning commission, not administratively.

Park City Planning Director Gretchen Milliken said chair lift upgrades usually do go in front of the planning commission, but a development agreement the city signed with the resort in 1998 makes these upgrades a little different.

“Normally, lift upgrades would, according to the land management code, would be a conditional use permit, and they would go in front of the planning commission," said Milliken. "However, we have a development agreement, and in the development agreement, any lift upgrades that are part of our mountain upgrade plan and compliant with the mountain upgrade plan and the development agreement, are processed as an administrative conditional use permit.”

The citizen appeal also argues that the resort’s plan to mitigate parking issues at the base area resulting from the upgrades falls short.

The resort announced in April it would implement a paid-parking system next winter and negotiated further parking mitigation plans as part of the administrative approval.

Those changes include a towing policy for anyone who parks without a reservation, and reinvesting the money generated by paid parking into transportation and parking measures in and around the base area.

The resort seeks to finish the upgrades before next season, but Milliken said that timeline depends on the appeal process.

“That remains to be determined," she said. "It’s definitely going to be a little bit of a tight timeline and a tight turnaround. They might still be able to be implemented this summer.”

If the appeal is upheld by the planning commission, the resort could then pursue action in district court.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.