Category Archives: From THINC

THINC – Treasure Hill Update and next meeting notice (7/13 @ 5:30PM)


Greetings THINC,

The threat of the proposed Treasure Hill development is real and significant.  The Planning Commission is meeting each month to ultimately decide on the fate of Treasure Hill.  This is the extremely sensitive land in Old Town just above the Town Lift Base area.  See image below of the proposed development:

The next Planning Commission meeting on Treasure Hill is this coming Wednesday (July 13th at 5:30PM).

Date:  Wednesday, July 13th

Time:  Meeting starts 5:30PM

Place:  Jim Santy Auditorium at 1255 Park Avenue

We need a large turnout and hope you can make it.  Our attendance and participation at these meetings is critical if we hope to change the course of this proposed development.  If approved the proposed Treasure Hill development would significantly change Park City forever and have a detrimental impact on the quality of life and the overall historical integrity of our town.

The topic of the meeting is Density.  The Planning Commission is trying to determine the maximum allowable square footage for the proposed development.  Way back in 1985 the Planning Commission approved the following:

UE’s       Equivalent           Square feet

Residential          197         2,000                     394,000

Commercial        19           1,000                     19,000

Total                      216                                         413,000

The current proposed development from the applicant is a sprawling complex of nearly 1,200,000 square feet including multiple condo/hotel towers, conference center, retail shops, restaurants, a huge underground parking garage, and more.  It also includes massive excavation scars in the mountainside that will be visible from all over town.

Below are some links from the City’s Treasure Hill website:

Recent Treasure Hill news from the Park Record:

Treasure deal, once seen as breaking logjam, now all but abandoned

As Treasure returns, critics seize on hillside ‘monstrosity’

Recent Treasure Hills news from KPCW:

Sweeney Attorney Delivers Threat to PC Planning Commission

Residents Voice Concerns Over Treasure Hill Project

Pictures of the proposed development can be found on our website here:

Please alert your friends and neighbors as this proposed development will impact all of us here in Park City.  Your attendance at these meetings is critical and hope to see you there!


Visit or follow us on Facebook here  and our website at  Also, please forward any names and email addresses of other concerned residents who might be interested in joining THINC.  They can also sign up at the following link to receive updates (

Let’s keep Park City, Park City.  Stop Treasure Hill!



Leave a comment

Filed under From THINC

THINC’s Official Response to the July 26, 2011 Open House

THINC strongly supports the zero density option (Option 1) on Treasure Hill and believes the best place for any development is at the base of PCMR.  The Treasure Hill land needs to be protected and preserved as the current Park City landmark that it is.

The only way to be sure that the citizens protect Treasure Hill forever and get the best return on any investment in open space $ is to support Option 1 and remove 100% of the density.

The City and Sweeneys have been discussing 3 specific options.  These options were presented at the recent Treasure Hill open house:

  • Option 1 – All Density Removed

Remove all density (413,000 square feet) from Treasure Hill and preserving the land as open space.

  • Option 2 – Density Reduction/Purchase/Reallocation

Reduce density at Treasure Hill to 213,000 square feet, City purchases 100,000 square feet of density, and 100,000 square feet of density is transferred to Park City Mountain Resort.

  • Option 3 – Pending Application

To recap, Treasure Hill has vesting from 1985:

  • 197 Unit Equivalent’s (UE’s) of residential at 2,000 sq ft each
  • 19 UE’s of commercial at 1,000 sq ft each
  • Total of 413,000 sq ft vested

The 1985 MPD and also attorney Jody Burnett’s independent legal opinion allows for up to an additional 5% for support commercial and meeting rooms.  There is no back of house approval amount and based on our information, recent projects have an additional 30-50% back of house space.  The Sweeneys continue to seek much more.

The Sweeney’s 2005 application seeks approximately 1,030,000 sq ft (Option 3).

The new design shown at the open house (Option 2) gives no specific total sq ft at all.  Craig Elliott did however create a video that explains why the new design is much less efficient than the previous 2005 design.  This translates into a much larger total sq ft than ½ of the 2005 application.  Although no one was willing to speak about the numbers, our best guess is that the total square footage currently being considered is approximately 550,000 to well over 600,000+ sq ft.  This is somewhere between 250-300% of the advertised 213,000 net sq ft.

The design is qualitatively better than before, but still includes 10 stories above ground for the majority of the buildings (internally facing 10 stories + underground parking levels).  It is our belief that there should never be any work done or agreements made (other than TDRs) using only net sq ft.  This only hides the facts from the citizens.

The net is that the citizens may be asked to pay the Sweeneys $15 Million and still get a project larger than their original MPD approval in 1985.

The vested 413,000 sq ft breaks down like this (Option 2):

1         Citizen bond $15M for the City to retire a net 100,000 sq ft (agreed to by Sweeneys).

2         A new TDR receiving zone is created on the PCMR ski property near the bottom of Payday and Kings Crown runs.

3         A TDR agreement is reached between Sweeneys (sending 100,000 sq ft) and PCMR and Bernolfo property owners (receiving 100,000 sq ft).

4         Sweeneys, PCMR, and Bernolfo all pool their land and approvals together to create and sell a huge new project above PCMR base area and Marriott Mountainside to another hotel developer.

5         Sweeneys get to build Treasure Hill with the remaining 213,000 sq ft.

If this scenario plays out, the Sweeneys get paid by multiple parties including the Park City citizens, a developer at the PCMR base, and by a developer for Treasure Hill.  Treasure Hill gets built to approximately 3 times the 213,000 sq ft and is still larger than the original 1985 approval.

While the new design is better – the mid station parcel is removed and the new design goes beyond their boundaries up the hill.  Still, no neighborhood impacts are mitigated – especially for Lowell and Empire Avenues where all the traffic will still need to be somehow accommodated.  There is a huge 10 story hotel built (plus undisclosed additional underground parking floors 3+) in a residential area where the LMC requires the MPD be “compatible in terms of building types and character with the surrounding area and would not alter the essential character of the district”.

It seems that the tax payers get little (if anything at all) for $15M.  The only good we see is that the mid station parcel goes away (which is excellent), but something much bigger will reappear at the resort. Treasure gets built larger than originally approved and Old Town is forever drastically altered and the citizens are complicit by paying $15M for this (in a smaller bond).

Our opinion based on all this is that the “½ density option” (Option 2) should only be a second choice and only looked at after the 100% option (Option 1) is put on the ballot and only if it fails.  The price tag may be higher, but the return is clear and significant with permanent, vital open space protected forever on the hillside adjacent to Old Town.  Please see the illustration below for estimated costs.

Regarding the mine tour, it might seem like a good idea however, anything that encourages additional traffic to the proposed development is very problematic.  The traffic issues remain unresolved and approval by City Planning and City Council for any proposed development will still be necessary.


The only way to be sure that the citizens protect Treasure Hill forever and get the best return on any investment in open space $ is to support Option 1 and remove 100% of the density.

Treasure Hill Open House Presentation

If you were unable to attend the open house please see the links below for more details and slides on the information that was presented:

Open House:  July 26, 2011 Introduction

Full Presentation, July 2011 Open House

Hotel Redesign

Options & Cost

Estimated Cost of Bonds to Voters in Park City:


Leave a comment

Filed under From THINC

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.


Brian Van Hecke

Leave a comment

Filed under From THINC

THINC’s Response on the Proposed Hearing Officer

THINC (Treasure Hill Impact Neighborhood Coalition) remains vigilant in our opposition to the proposed Treasure Hill development in historic old town Park City. City Hall is now fast tracking a change in the LMC (Land Management Code) to allow for a city appointed hearing officer to hear appeals of Planning Commission decisions. The hearing officer could hear these appeals in place of our elected city council. This procedure may give the city council some flexibility on some matters, but THINC questions whether it is appropriate in the matter of Treasure Hill.

Given the 20+ year history of the Treasure Hill project and the involvement of the city council over the years, is a hearing officer (possibly from outside Summit County) really in the best position to hear an appeal on this project? Will a hearing officer have a good understanding of the dramatic changes in the community since the project’s MPD was approved? Isn’t our elected city council, people who live in this town, hike on the trails, sit in the traffic, participate in this community, and understand the concerns of the people, in the best position to determine whether a project of this magnitude is appropriate for this town? While a hearing officer may insulate the city council from potential due process or conflict of interest challenges by the Sweeney’s, the community’s interests as a whole need to be represented and protected by those who we elected to serve our community.

THINC strongly encourages the City to involve the community in the negotiation of any modifications to the plans for Treasure and make the entire process as transparent as possible. We’ve all been living with the threat of this project for a long time and it would be unacceptable for the public to be cut out as this critical juncture.

THINC supports the concept of a hearing officer, but we want city council to carefully consider whether a hearing officer is really in the best position to evaluate the Treasure project and the process that has been going on for 20+ years. We remain concerned that city council may remove themselves from the largest decision they may ever be asked to make — before the process has fully played out before the planning commission and the issues to be appealed are even known!

Thank you very much,

Rich Wyman
John Stafsholt
Brian Van Hecke
Kyra Parkurst 
Steve Swanson

Leave a comment

Filed under From THINC