PARK CITY, Utah — For the first time in three years, the Park City Council and Park City Planning Commission met jointly at City Hall on Tuesday evening.
On the agenda were discussions about land management code amendments, 2022 planning priorities, and the circulation plan for the proposed Snow Park Village redevelopment.
In April 2021, Deer Valley Resort submitted their application for their three-phase redevelopment plan for the Snow Park Village base area and surface parking lots.
The project would bring residential units, hotels, and commercial space to the current Snow Park lots. A multi-story parking lot is also included.
The Carpenter and Silverlake Express would be extended into the area, creating what the developer called a “ski-in village.”
The only exception the application is seeking is a reduction in the number of required off-street parking stalls.
Deer Valley recently submitted a petition to vacate a portion of Deer Valley Drive, and to dedicate Doe Pass Road to the city.
Significant changes to the existing transportation pattern include (per a staff report):
- A counter-clockwise one-way dedicated bus-only lane around the Deer Valley Drive loop
- A new Transit and Mobility Hub
- Improvements to the existing pedestrian and bike infrastructure.
“The proposed plan appears to prioritize transit by utilizing Deer Valley Drive West as the primary route for public transportation to the Resort,” a city report states.
“Deer Valley Drive East would then serve as the primary access for all other vehicles accessing the northern Deer Valley residential neighborhoods and the Resort base area.”
The applicant’s proposed circulation pattern is currently contingent on the vacation and dedication of public right-of-way, which is determined solely by the city council.
Under the proposal, transit will be prioritized to Snow Park Village on Deer Valley Drive West and from the resort on Deer Valley Drive East via a bus-only lane.
The city’s staff report states the following in bold: The proposal impacts the entire Lower Deer Valley neighborhood, resulting in increased vehicle traffic on Deer Valley Drive East, and suggests that many residents and nearby stakeholders will have direct feedback prior to action.
Public emails released by Park City show a heavy amount of resentment towards the project from residents of Deer Valley.
Amid clear opposition from the meeting crowd, Rich Wagner, the vice president of development at Alterra, which owns Deer Valley, said “we’ve heard the lower Deer Valley community loud and clear.”
“We can make something work,” Wagner said. “We’ve already studied some ideas, we just haven’t embedded them yet.”
Chuck Haggerty, the president of the Solamere Homeowners Association (HOA), which is in lower Deer Valley, said “we asked city staff for a meeting on March 3 to discuss all of these issues and so forth. We have not gotten a response yet.”
He said he represents over 1,400 residents “who are opposing this, yet we’re not included as alternatives with the staff to discuss this. And I would just request — council, commission, staff — let’s be transparent.”
The objective of the joint session on Tuesday was centered around process, specifically over who should take up the project first. It was ultimately decided that the project will stay with the planning commission, however, it will be brought to the council when the circulation plan is finalized in order to vote on the right-of-way.
Several individuals giving public input criticized the “camaraderie” between city planning staff and the developer. One man giving a virtual comment suggested that a planning staffer was “in bed with Alterra.”
City officials were quick to denounce those characterizations.
“The applicant sits with the staff at the table to make their recommendations,” Park City Mayor Nann Worel said. “The fact that they happen to be sitting next to each other in no way implies that the staff has been paid for… That is absolutely not true.”
“When I see comments made about staff or even comments tonight that I’ve heard about the commission having weighed in on something — we haven’t,” Park City Planning Commission Chair John Phillips said. “We don’t even have the information to make a decision. We’re waiting. We’re still working through that information. But when we get those kinds of comments, it makes me sick to my stomach because these people up here, we are giving our lives to this, we care, and that is why we are here.”
Planning commissioner John Kenworthy made clear at the meeting that Deer Valley has some existing land entitlements, making development at the site inevitable.