The planned development of the lots at the base of Park City Mountain has encountered a procedural snag. The Park City Planning Commission unanimously voted on Wednesday to subject the plans from developer PEG Companies to a complete review, siding with City Hall staff as well as some vocal outside critics. PEG Companies aimed to move forward with the project under an existing 1990’s development agreement for the area, but ultimately the planning commission decided the substantive differences between what was envisioned decades ago and what has been submitted warrant a full review.
At this point, PEG Companies is not required to make any modifications to their proposal, and it may proceed through the master plan development review process as is. The decision does, however, subject the project to a new level of scrutiny regarding several facets of the development including the location of buildings, parking infrastructure and pedestrian routes. Whether the procedural hurdle turns into a major obstacle remains to be seen, but it adds yet another hurdle for developers to clear as they were already confronting some vocal opposition.
The Citizens Allied for Responsible Growth (CARG) levied a withering critique of the developers to the Planning Commission earlier in the week. One of CARG’s founders, Rich Wyman, suggested the plans lack vision befitting a world-class destination. Among Wyman’s objections were substantive issues such as the project’s lack of affordable-housing and traffic solutions as well as some remarks that strayed into ad hominem attacks suggesting PEG Companies wasn’t up to the task. PEG Companies has in the past stated an intention to listen to and adapt to local input, though it appears they’ll have an uphill battle in winning over some factions.
The PCMR Development isn’t the only Park City project in flux. On Thursday the Park City Council met to discuss the future of the Arts and Culture District as the city’s two primary partners, the Kimball Art Center and the Sundance Institute, are experiencing turmoil amid the coronavirus pandemic. The $70 million the city planned to spend on the project seems daunting amid unprecedented budgetary shortfalls, while the Kimball Arts Center and Sundance Institute cope with the loss of major revenue with the cancellation of the Kimball Arts Festival and alterations to the Sundance Film Festival respectively. Both the not-for-profit organizations have recently laid off staff amid the economic downturn.
Despite the setbacks, city officials and representatives from the Sundance Institute and Kimball Art Center remain steadfast in the goal towards seeing the Arts and Culture District come to fruition. Though they admit the timing of the project will likely be altered, it’s seen as an important long-term step in diversifying a local economy that is heavily reliant upon the ski industry.
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