Local News Hour – September 14, 2018


On today’s program, Charlie Sturgis has this week’s Mountain Trails Report and details about Sunday’s annual Tour de Suds. Preserve Park City representative and Old Town Resident John Stafsholt talks about this grassroots organization whose members want Proposition 1 to pass. Park City Council member Lynn Ware Peek with a recap of last night’s meeting.


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Park City approves $64 million Treasure buyout

untitledPark City leaders on Thursday night approved an agreement to acquire the Treasure land in a $64 million deal, a purchase that must now be put to voters to raise the eight-figure sum needed to finalize what would be, by a wide margin, the most expensive conservation purchase in the history of City Hall’s lauded open space program.

The Park City Council’s unanimous vote was anticipated. It was the elected officials themselves who negotiated the acquisition of the hotly disputed land. The nearly 105 acres are located on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift. The land is under the ownership of the Treasure partnership, consisting of the Sweeney family and a firm called Park City II, LLC. The Sweeney family was the historic owner of the land and later sold a 50 percent stake to Park City II, LLC, which is led by a businesswoman named Elizabeth Rad.

The partnership has spent more than a decade in discussions with the Park City Planning Commission about a development proposal encompassing approximately 1 million square feet. There has been opposition to the proposal throughout the discussions as critics worried about issues like traffic increases, the size of the buildings and the required excavation. Park City’s elected leadership intervened in the late stages of the Planning Commission discussions to reach the $64 million agreement. The Planning Commission at the time appeared to be preparing to cast a vote against the project.

The City Council on Thursday approved a purchase and sale agreement as well as a settlement agreement, which addresses the steps that would occur should voters reject the ballot measure and the partnership returns to the Planning Commission to continue the discussions about the development proposal.

“This is what the bulk of the public wants,” Mayor Andy Beerman said just before the City Council cast the vote, to applause.

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Park City agrees to fast Treasure vote if conservation deal fails

The Park City Planning Commission discussions about the Treasure development proposal have extended for more than a decade with gaps that sometimes lasted more than a year.

If Park City voters on Election Day reject a ballot measure that would fund most of the cost of a City Hall acquisition of the land for conservation purposes, the Treasure partnership would return to the Planning Commission in 2019 for more discussions.

That round of talks, though, would not extend indefinitely as has been the case with the project thus far. As part of an agreement approved by the Park City Council on Thursday evening, officials pledged that the Planning Commission would rapidly complete its deliberations and cast a vote.

Should the ballot measure fail, a City Hall down payment of $6 million would be used to reduce the Treasure proposal by 10 percent. The Treasure partnership, consisting of the Sweeney family and a firm called Park City II, LLC, would put the reduced project before the Planning Commission.

According to a City Hall report outlining the agreement, the Planning Commission at that time would restart at the same point where the panel was in its review of Treasure in December. The Planning Commission appeared to be preparing for a vote by the end of 2017 prior to Park City’s elected officials intervening with the prospects of a conservation deal.

The agreement outlines that the Planning Commission would hold a maximum of three meetings about Treasure prior to a vote if the project returns. The schedule calls for a decision by the panel by the end of March of 2019.

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Park City reaches Treasure deal, but what about an appraisal?

The Treasure land on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift is, undoubtedly, valuable.

It is on the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort and just blocks from the shopping, dining and entertainment of Main Street. And there are significant development rights attached to the land dating from the 1980s.

But the real value of the approximately 105 acres remains unknown to the public. City Hall has negotiated a $64 million deal with the Treasure partnership to acquire the land in a conservation deal, meaning Park City’s leaders have pegged the value of the land at that figure. Park City voters are anticipated to decide whether City Hall acquires the land via a ballot measure in November. It would raise approximately $50 million toward the deal with officials in coming months expected to consider funding options for the remainder.

The property’s appraised value, though, is not known publicly, spurring questions shortly after the agreement was announced. The appraised value has not been an overriding issue thus far, but it has been mentioned sporadically

It is something that could eventually embolden critics of the agreement should they attempt to argue that City Hall wants voters to approve the municipal government’s most expensive conservation deal, through what would be the largest-ever bond, without the knowledge of an appraisal.

City Hall has attempted to acquire Treasure outright or negotiate a partial buyout of the development rights several times over the years, but the current deal is the first to advance to a point that it appears to be a possibility. The Park City Council on Thursday is scheduled to consider an agreement with the Treasure partnership that would move the community toward a November ballot measure. The partnership involves the Sweeney family, which is the traditional owner of the land, and a firm called Park City II, LLC.

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Park City panel, years into Treasure talks, intends to endorse buyout

The Park City Planning Commission, the City Hall panel that has spent more than a decade in start-and-stop discussions about the Treasure development proposal, on Wednesday is expected to endorse a statement supporting the idea of the municipal government acquiring the acreage in a conservation agreement.

Planning Commission rosters over the years have struggled with the Treasure proposal, spending extensive time on issues such as the traffic the project would be expected to generate, the square footage of Treasure and the designs.

It appeared the Planning Commission was preparing to cast a ‘Nay’ vote toward the end of 2017. Park City’s elected officials instead negotiated a partial acquisition of the development rights attached to the land for $30 million followed by talks that resulted in a $64 million deal to acquire the acreage and 100 percent of the development rights. The deal would depend on Park City voters passing a ballot measure in November funding most of the cost.

The Planning Commission only occasionally makes a statement, drafted as a resolution, like the one that will be considered on Wednesday. Planning Commissioners far more frequently are tasked with making decisions about growth and development matters.

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Park City prepares for momentous Treasure vote

The Park City Council on Thursday will likely approve an agreement to acquire Treasure in a $64 million conservation deal, a decision that would be a landmark moment in the 30-plus years of controversy regarding Treasure and one that would move the dispute to voters.

Mayor Andy Beerman and the City Council are scheduled to address two related documents. One is a purchase and sale agreement, which will outline the acquisition itself. The other is a settlement agreement, which will detail what would happen should voters reject a ballot measure in November to raise most of the funds needed for the deal. The settlement agreement will cover topics like the $6 million City Hall is required to forward to the Treasure partnership as a down payment. It will also address a redesign of Treasure should the ballot measure fail. The $6 million payment would be used to reduce the project by 10 percent if voters reject the ballot measure.

Matt Dias, the assistant Park City manager and one of the staffers heavily involved in the Treasure discussions, said the settlement agreement also addresses the skiing infrastructure on the Treasure land through easements for ski runs and lifts. Park City Mountain Resort’s Town Lift and the Town Lift runs are on the land, and agreements have been in place for years between the resort and Treasure.

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Local News Hour – February 14, 2108

Assistant City Manager Matt Dias have a preview of the agenda for Thursday’s city council meeting, which includes the settlement of Treasure Hill.


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