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Parking reduction, transportation funds make up key elements of Snow Park deal

The parking lot at Deer Valley's Snow Park. The resort wants to turn the lot into residential units, hotels, and commercial space.
Parker Malatesta
The parking lot at Deer Valley's Snow Park. The resort wants to turn the lot into a new ski-in ski-out village with hotels and commercial space.

Park City has released more details about an agreement with Deer Valley that would advance the resort’s Snow Park development.

After months of private negotiations between city leaders and resort officials, details of a deal were presented to the public at the Park City Council meeting Thursday night.

Additional information about the agreement was released Friday morning.

Deer Valley is asking for the city to vacate the public right-of-way on Deer Valley Drive, so it can construct a new ski village with hotels and restaurants on the road and the base area parking lot.

A majority of nearby residents have been ardently opposed to the road vacation, a subject of city consideration for over two years.

Utah law requires “good cause” and assurance the public will not be “materially injured” to vacate a street.

In exchange for granting the road vacation, Deer Valley will pay $15 million “towards the creation of a regionally significant transportation and parking facility.” Park City Mayor Nann Worel said that facility could also include some affordable housing.

“With an intercept lot that could include structured parking, it could include some affordable housing," Worel said. "Depending on the size of the parcel, it could provide some basic support services. So when you get back from the resort on your express bus and you’re going to head back to Salt Lake or wherever you came to ski from, you can grab a doughnut or a cup of coffee or something to have on the way home.”

Separate from the $15 million, Deer Valley will also be required to build at least 67 units of affordable housing in Park City limits. In previous discussions, the resort discussed plans to construct a new workforce housing development along Bonanza Drive.

A management committee would be set up to oversee the spending of the $15 million, according to a city press release.

The city council has previously discussed building a park and ride on the Gordo property along state Route 248.

The deal also states Deer Valley will reduce day skier parking by 20% compared to existing conditions. The hotel, residential, dining, retail, and entertainment parking spaces as part of the new development will be prohibited for day skier parking.

Another element of the agreement is that the resort will be required to create a gondola network connecting Snow Park to the new Deer Valley base along U.S. Highway 40 in Wasatch County. The new base area with 1,200 parking spots is part of a major terrain expansion the resort announced earlier this year.

According to Lift Blog, the new gondola would stretch over 5 miles, making it one of the longest on the continent. A ride along the entire line from base to base would take about 25 minutes.

As part of the new gondola network, the resort would also expand maintenance facilities along with skier and restaurant services in Silver Lake.

Prior to the expansion announcement, several members of the Park City Planning Commission recommended Deer Valley create new connections to the resort from U.S. 40.

At the meeting Thursday, residents called for greater transparency about the public-private agreement, including Robert Boone, president of the American Flag HOA in upper Deer Valley.

“I think it is fair to say that due to the reaction of the public to this petition with regard to vacating the right-of-way, that the right-of-way clearly has significant utility," Boone said. "I want to plant the seed that a no vote on the petition is not a no vote on the development. It merely means that Deer Valley will go back to the drawing board and propose something else that hopefully causes less material harm.”

Deer Valley hasn’t presented the city an alternative proposal without the right-of-way vacation. Rossi Hill resident Allison Kitching asked the council to look at city code to encourage or require the resort to submit a plan that keeps the road in place.

An organized group of neighbors, called Protect The Loop, has proposed an alternative plan that involves undergrounding Deer Valley Drive.

The Park City Council is targeting a vote on the deal and concurrent right-of-way vacation at its meeting Dec. 14. If the road vacation is approved, Worel said the full ski village project would move to the Park City Planning Commission.

“Whether the council chooses to vacate the road or not, this goes back to the planning commission, and they will then go put it through their entire master plan development analysis," the mayor said. "Should that master plan development not be approved by the planning commission, then this is a moot point, because the right-of-way would not be vacated, unless the master plan development was approved.”

The public has two more opportunities to share their views at city council meetings on Dec. 5 and 14.