Letter from Brian Van Hecke to the Mayor and City Council

Greetings Mayor and City Council Members.

I am writing to you regarding the Treasure Hill press release, staff report, and draft Letter of Intent.

Unfortunately with such short notice, I am not in town and will not be able to attend the meeting tonight.  I’m afraid others will not be able to attend either with such short notice and this is unfortunate especially given the magnitude of this potential development project.

I am certainly concerned with the LOI and the $50 million number that is being considered as a basis.  I think even mentioning a number without the support of a meaningful and real appraisal is irresponsible.

I’m also concerned why the appraisal has not been made public.  This thought this was due back in July and but apparently is still not known.  How can any discussions or constructive negotiations be conducted without it?  Why has the City not received it or shared it with the public.

I think it’s important to remember a few key facts:

  • The town does not need another hotel.  Have you seen the occupancy rates?  Most/all the hotels in Park City and for that matter all over the Mountain West are struggling to say the least.
  • Regardless of the appraisal (whenever it is made public), the real value of the Treasure Hill property is very debatable.  With many/most of the resort properties in Park City struggling what is the real current market value to that property?  It has been argued by experts in the commercial/resort development industry, that “no one would build anything up there right now”.  Obviously there is value to the Treasure Hill property but one must consider real market values and real market conditions.
  • The current traffic and safety issues remain and will not be solved by simply reducing the size of the project.  These streets area already dangerous and cannot handle any more traffic as cars, trucks and pedestrians (including families, kids, pets, tourists and locals alike) struggle to “share the road”.
  • All the other existing CUP issues remain – even with a 50% reduction in the size of the project these issues have not and cannot be mitigated or resolved.
  • Potential EPA issues with significant mine tailings and contamination issues have yet to be addressed or resolved by the Planning Commission.
  • Potential water table contamination and related issues also were never addressed or resolved by the Planning Commission.
  • A convention center/meeting space is not compatible and was never an approved use.

I feel like the LOI is setting the stage for an ultimate compromise.  However, a 50% reduction in density is NOT a win win for everyone.  In fact, I believe very few will “win” in this scenario.

I believe that there is far more value to the City and the vast majority of our Residents to preserve the landmark Treasure Hill as 100% open space.  The costs of allowing this development to take place are immense, including:

  • Destroying a historic neighborhood
  • The years of construction
  • No guarantee it will ever get built/finished
  • The immense excavation and damage to the land
  • Increased pollution with trucks, excavation, etc.
  • Clear cutting of a entire hillside of trees
  • Numerous other environmental issues

All of this for the benefits of a few (The Sweeneys and ultimately an outside developer and perhaps PCMR).

The public value that this land would have if preserved also far outweigh any shortsighted tax benefits that the City might receive.

Please consider all the families and children living in Old Town (families and residents all over Old Town and surrounding neighborhoods will be impacted).  How are they going to survive if this project (in any size or shape) is built?

Another hotel is not going to solve our tax or revenue issues.  It’s only going to exacerbate a difficult situation for all the resort and hotel operators in Park City.

Another hotel is also not going to make doing business on Main Street better.  Consider all the lost business from displaced local Old Town residents that they will very likely lose?

If another hotel is somehow warranted, then it belongs at the base of PCMR.  Not on such vital land as Treasure Hill.

Also, consider that the Sweeneys would likely be entitled to significant tax benefits if they were to consider a 100% preservation of the signature hill of Park City.

Finally, how does this Letter of Intent protect the rights of our residents?  I’m still not clear in its current form or why it’s necessary?  It seems that it will only further diminish the City’s obligation to protect the rights of all citizens.

I trust that you will consider these comments and concerns.

Regards,

Brian Van Hecke

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