Earlier today we wrote a story on how Vail does not forecast visitor numbers. We stated that we as a community should not take Vail’s policy of non-forecasting to mean that there won’t be additional visitors. We said that we needed to use common sense to ensure that adequate parking and traffic mitigation accompanied additions like the Vail/PCMR Gondola.
In response to our story, Park City Planning Commissioner Melissa Band wrote us with a very thoughtful email to provide more detail on the topic and why parking couldn’t be considered as part of the gondola decision.
Actually, the reason that Park City didn’t ask for more parking is because of the way the original MPD (master planned development) was written. Both the affordable housing and parking requirements were tied directly to the base development. The gondola connection and the snow hut expansion were both conditional use permits and thus had no trigger that the city could use to insist upon more parking (or affordable housing).
I heard someone on the radio say today that she couldn’t believe the Planning Commission didn’t think parking was an issue. Anyone who was at either of the meetings with Vail knows that almost all we talked about was parking, affordable housing and historic structures. For hours.
Unfortunately, when the original MPD was written in 1997, the anticipated impacts were not correct, but we are still bound by that agreement, as is Vail.
Once Vail comes in with anything at all for base development, parking and affordable housing will be front and center, I guarantee it, but we can’t re-write the rules.
There are one or two provisions in the MPD that allow for the city to step in due to parking or traffic, but they are quite controversial and would result in economic harm to the resort AND business and I’m not sure that the political will is there for such draconian measures.
Ideally, we want lifestyle and business to mix, so at least initially, it is a better starting point for all parties to work together on our mutual issues.