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Public hearing scheduled for proposed Deer Valley ski-in ski-out village

A rendering of Deer Valley's proposed redevelopment of Snow Park.
Deer Valley Resort
A rendering of Deer Valley's proposed redevelopment of Snow Park.

On Thursday evening the Park City Council will hold a public hearing on the resort's plans to build on the Snow Park parking lot.

The meeting will include a brief presentation from Deer Valley on its development plans, which include building a village of hotels, restaurants, and condos on the resort base parking lot.

It’s the first time the project will be in front of the city council since a joint meeting with the planning commission roughly one year ago.

The meeting is primarily focused on a public hearing; no vote on the project is scheduled Thursday.

Whether the city should give a portion of Deer Valley Drive to the resort is the decision in front of the council, said Park City Planning Director Gretchen Milliken. In bureaucratic terms that’s called a right-of-way vacation.

“There’s two things being weighed here," Milliken said. "The planning commission is reviewing the master planned development. What the council is reviewing is the right-of-way vacation. And [Deer Valley’s] proposal — what they’ve got in front of us — is dependent on a vacation of right-of-way. So a portion of Deer Valley Drive, the applicant is incorporating that into the development.”

After the public hearing, the council is scheduled to discuss whether there is “good cause” to vacate the portion of Deer Valley Drive that the resort says it needs to move forward with its plans.

Park City’s code has a lengthy definition of what qualifies as “good cause.” It says such a decision should provide positive benefits while mitigating negative impacts, preserve the character of neighborhoods, and promote residents’ health and safety.

The planning commission made several recommendations for what the city should get in return for giving away ownership of the road. Commission chair Laura Suesser said a new road connecting Snow Park and U.S. 40 could be part of the solution, along with a gondola from the resort base to Old Town.

During the most recent planning commission meeting on the project, city engineer John Robertson shot down the idea of aerial transit between Deer Valley and Old Town, but did not give a reason. Part of the resort’s plan involves converting the Silver Lake Express lift into a gondola, and pulling it further into the base area. Deer Valley planners have said the new location for the base of Silver Lake would be ideal if the city wanted to connect it to Old Town.

Suesser also said she’d like to see the new Silver Lake Gondola run year-round, from early morning until late at night, in an effort to keep people at the resort later to help calm evening rush hour traffic.

When asked at the last meeting if it would ever consider night skiing, Deer Valley President and COO Todd Bennett told the commission the resort is “open to creative solutions.”

Other recommendations from the commission include increased parking at the base of the Jordanelle Express Gondola, and more skier shuttles serving local Deer Valley neighborhoods.

Residents of upper and lower Deer Valley have largely opposed the plan, saying the new traffic flow would add congestion and lower their quality of life.

Deer Valley’s transportation analysis says the new development would bring an additional 2,400 trips to Snow Park daily.

The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in city council chambers at the Marsac Building. The agenda and a link to attend virtually can be found here.