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Deer Valley neighbors voice opposition to resort’s development plans

Park City Council chambers.
Parker Malatesta
Over 50 residents showed up to a public hearing on Deer Valley's proposed Snow Park Village Thursday night at the Marsac Building.

Nearly every Park City resident who spoke at a public hearing Thursday night objected to Deer Valley Resort’s proposal to build a ski-in ski-out village on its parking lot.

Locals told the Park City Council that Deer Valley’s project will fundamentally worsen their quality of life, primarily due to increased traffic and the crowds and noise it will bring.

Lisa Wilson, a Deer Valley resident for decades, said current conditions are bad enough.

“The traffic today is the worst I’ve seen in 30 years," Wilson said.

"I can’t get out. Between four and six o’clock — I live kind of by the Stein Eriksen Residences — I basically can’t leave. And God forbid if anything ever happened, I can’t even get to the doctor.”

As part of the project, Deer Valley officials want to make Doe Pass Road, which runs through the middle of the parking lot, the main entryway to the resort. A transit center on Doe Pass would serve as the new front door to a village of hotels, restaurants, bars, and ski-in ski-out access to a lift and gondola.

The resort has a longstanding agreement with the city to build on the parking lot. However, those rights do not include changing the area’s traffic flow and integrating portions of Deer Valley Drive.

That’s why the resort is asking the city to give up public right-of-way on a little over 2.5 acres of Deer Valley Dr.

Scott Greenberg, who serves as president of the Hidden Oaks HOA in lower Deer Valley, echoed what many others expressed: as currently proposed, the city isn’t getting a fair trade for the right-of-way vacation.

“Now, as the steward of our roads, the city should be mindful not only of the negative impact the proposed project has on this, but the actual benefits that are being offered to the community in exchange for the road vacation," Greenberg said.

"All I have heard tonight, is that this project — which is by the way exclusively dependent upon the road vacation —  will benefit the visitors to a world class resort. Well, what about providing something for the local class visitors?”

The Park City Planning Commission reviewed the project earlier this year and asked Deer Valley to provide alternatives that did not involve the road vacation. The resort responded that it didn’t have any.

Deer Valley officials have emphasized that their village concept is entirely contingent on adding the road to the project.

Some accused Deer Valley’s traffic analysis of being an undercount. The resort’s study says daily trips to the base would increase by over 2,400 trips as a result of the new village.

Upper Deer Valley resident Lori Frankel said new amenities would bring in more than just day skiers.

“We see this real life example with the St. Regis Vintage Room, which on any given day is overflowing with more people in street clothes than in ski boots," Frankel said.

"St. Regis residents are frustrated by the frequent hour-plus lines each way for the funicular.” 

The Park City Council must now decide if there is “good cause” to vacate the road. That will be decided in a future meeting that has yet to be scheduled. The council didn’t comment on the project Thursday. No action or discussion was scheduled.