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Park City Mountain development application withdrawn, ending nearly three years of difficult talks

Provo developer was entangled in discussions with City Hall panel

By Jay Hamburger - Park Record | Jan 24, 2023

Park Record file photo

An early iteration of a proposal for a major development at the Park City-side base of Park City Mountain was on display during an open house during the initial months of talks. The Provo firm that brought the proposal to City Hall withdrew the application on Thursday.

The Provo firm that spent nearly three years entangled in difficult discussions with a City Hall panel about a proposal for a major development at the Park City-side base of Park City Mountain withdrew the application on Thursday, a decision that creates uncertainty regarding the future of the land.

PEG Companies informed City Hall in a one-page letter addressed to Gretchen Milliken, the planning director. Robert Schmidt, the PEG Companies figure who led the efforts in Park City, signed the letter. In a prepared statement that was also dated Thursday, Schmidt said the decision was made “to further support the ongoing review of the vital information coming from the results of the paid and reservation parking program underway this winter at Park City Mountain,” a reference to the first ski season of the resort’s revamped Park City-side operations.

“The engagement we have had with Park City staff, community stakeholders and neighbors, and Planning Commission on this project has been productive and has resulted in many positive changes to the plans we proposed for the site. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with Park City Mountain on the next steps for this important project,” Schmidt said in the statement.

It is not clear when a reimagined project would return to City Hall. Schmidt’s statement seems to indicate there is a possibility PEG Companies will remain involved. PEG Companies in the spring of 2019 reached an agreement with Park City Mountain owner Vail Resorts to acquire the parking lots, covering 10 acres, for a project. The deal was not anticipated to close until after the discussions with City Hall about a development proposal.

There are rights attached to the land dating from the 1990s, when a previous owner of the resort won an overall development approval involving the ground covered in the PEG Companies proposal as well as nearby parcels.

Another, more detailed approval is needed before a development could proceed.

The PEG Companies concept involved a hotel, condominiums, retailers and restaurants. Housing for employees and other units set aside as affordable were also included. Large garages would have been constructed in place of the surface parking spots on the land now. Transit improvements were also included.

PEG Companies encountered resistance from people who live or own properties close to the resort and others, and the Planning Commission itself appeared to have deep-rooted concerns about the proposal. It seemed in late 2021 PEG Companies would press for a decision, but there was little movement through the following 12 months.

The opponents of the proposal were worried about a range of issues, including the height of the proposed buildings and the traffic the project would generate. There were questions about whether the proposal worked within the parameters of the 1990s-era approval.

If PEG Companies ultimately removes itself from a project, Vail Resorts would need to consider next steps for the acreage, which is seen as especially valuable at the base of a top-tier mountain resort, with development rights already secured.

The opponents to the proposal in 2020 organized a group known as the Responsible Resort Area Development Coalition and remained highly suspect of the project throughout the discussions. Deb Rentfrow, an Empire Avenue resident who is the president and one of the founders of the coalition, said on Thursday it was unfortunate City Hall staffers and the Planning Commission spent significant time on the proposal without significant progress.

“It really didn’t offer any community benefits,” she said.

Rentfrow said the coalition hopes a new concept will emerge for the land. She would like one that benefits the community and resort customers as well as providing better transportation and circulation plans than the one forwarded by PEG Companies.

“It needs to blend into the community,” she said.

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