The development of the Park City Mountain Resort base area continued to take shape at this week’s Park City Planning Commission meeting. Building heights, setbacks, and how closely the original 1998 master plan needs to be followed were the hot topics.
Just how much does a 22-year-old master plan govern a new project at the same site?
That was the question posed to the Park City Planning Commission this week as they continued to revise the plans proposed by PEG Companies to fully develop the base area of Park City Mountain resort.
The original 1998 plan was to replace the current surface parking lots with condos, hotel rooms, and other amenities. PEG’s 2020 plan is much the same, moving current surface parking underground and building up accommodations and retail space on top.
So, is PEG’s project bound by the 1998 agreement only, or is this an entirely new project? The answer, it seems, is both.
Robert Schmidt is the Vice President of Development for PEG and says the project is proceeding under the 1998 agreement, but PEG is asking for exceptions to the agreement within the current land management code.
He says PEG and the planning commission came to that understanding on Wednesday night.
“We felt like the meeting was very productive and we did feel like there was some understanding of that premise,” Schmidt says. “What we’re asking for is that the development agreement with the density and the allowable square footage, that we be allowed to proceed under those terms. However, we are changing the site plan. There are some things that we feel aren’t as viable the way the 98’ plan proposed them, so we’re proposing some changes that we think are improvements and we’re asking that the planning commission approve this new plan under their purview to do so. That’s our request and I think we had some good understanding the other night.”
Critics, however, aren’t so sure. A community group known as RRAD, or Responsible Resort Area Development Coalition, accused PEG of ‘cherry picking’ the 1998 agreement by following parts that advantage them and disregarding others that don’t.
RRAD made it clear on Wednesday they are not anti-development, but do want the project to be a positive for all Parkites, not just the developers.
Schmidt says they're not cherry picking, just asking for changes they think are the best for the project and plan to justify them with the current land management code.
“We’ve never said ‘look, we’re gonna cherry pick certain elements of it,’ we’ve said we’re proposing something that’s new, it’s different, we recognize that, and we’re going to show how it complies with LMC and ask the commission to make a determination if it does indeed meet the requirements of the LMC,” says Schmidt.
One of the main exceptions asked for is an increase in building heights. PEG’s plans have the highest buildings at just under 90 feet, which is higher than allowed, but Schmidt says a certain amount of density is required to be at the base -- per the 1998 agreement -- and the only way to fit it in is to go up.
“The building height request stems from the fact that the density from up on the mountain was transferred in 1998 to the base, so the height is something that’s very important,” he says. “We’ve got a certain amount of stuff that needs to fit here at the base, and the way to do that is with some height above the current code, above the current zone requirements in that area, and that was recognized in 1998. That’s very important to us, that’s a critical element.”
Schmidt and his colleagues did stress that current plans are still very much concepts and final plans have a long way to go before they are voted on by the commission.
The next planning commission meeting is scheduled for December 16th.