Park City official says full buyout of Treasure is ‘not reality’

A leading Treasure opposition figure on Thursday told Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council people in Park City would support the acquisition of all of the development rights attached to the hillside land, a buyout option the opponents have long desired but one that appears highly unlikely in the weeks after City Hall negotiated a different agreement.

Park City officials addressed Treasure on consecutive days this week as the Planning Commission discussed the project on Wednesday followed by the elected officials on Thursday. The meetings were cordial, something that was particularly notable so shortly after a series of tension-filled Planning Commission gatherings about Treasure. The mayor and City Council earlier in December negotiated an agreement calling for the municipal government to acquire a 50 percent stake in Treasure for $30 million.

The agreement hinges on voters in Park City approving a ballot measure in November to raise the funds needed for the acquisition. If the deal is finalized, City Hall would acquire the Sweeney family’s stake in Treasure while the other side of the Treasure partnership, a firm called Park City II, LLC, would rework a scaled-back development proposal.

It appears there is concern within the Treasure opposition that voters may not authorize the $24 million needed to reach the $30 million total since half of the development rights would remain intact even if the ballot measure passes. City Hall’s popular open space program over the years has been used to acquire land outright or otherwise conserve acreage in perpetuity rather than reducing the scope of a project as in the case of the Treasure deal

Brian Van Hecke, with a group called the Treasure Hill Impact Neighborhood Coalition, on Thursday told the elected officials the tone of the discussions is positive. He said the public would support the acquisition of all of the development rights, but additional rights would remain for a project under the agreement between City Hall and the Treasure partnership. He inquired whether a deal was available to acquire 100 percent of the development rights and asked whether the sides considered tapping a municipal program that allows development rights in certain locations to be shifted to another spot deemed better suited for growth. Van Hecke mentioned the parking lots at Park City Mountain Resort as a place where the Treasure development rights could be shifted.

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