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The Cautionary Tale of Sun Peak and How It Should Educate Jeremy Ranch Residents

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.George Santayana

As you drive into Park City on Highway 224, you’ll pass a nursery and then a large field on the right. Today that field is grass and has large trees. Tomorrow that field will be a Hyatt Hotel. How did that happen?

A developer had the right to build a small restaurant, retail shops, and offices on the property. Yet, nothing was built on the land for years. The developer decided they would rather have a hotel on the land and approached the Summit County Council. See, there was an agreement that said only a restaurant, small retail space, and offices could be built there and that agreement needed to be modified for a hotel to be built (sound familiar Jeremy Ranch?).

Sun Peak residents were up-in-arms over this. Most didn’t want a hotel there. The county council and Summit County Planning office recommended that the developer meet with Sun Peak residents. We weren’t at the meeting, but we heard that the developer essentially said do you want us to put in a busy restaurant or would you like a nice quiet hotel. At least some of the residents decided they didn’t want a “Chili’s” there and said so. Then in further meetings with the county, the developer let it be known that residents were initially opposed to the hotel but now they are for it.

The Hotel was a slam dunk from there. Residents for it. Check. More tax revenue. Check. Less car trips. Check. Hotel approved.

The only problem? If residents didn’t get spooked during the meeting, nothing would likely be developed there. The developer couldn’t say that residents were behind it. The county council wouldn’t likely force a hotel on residents against their will. So, no hotel. As for office space, retail, and a restaurant… if it made sense to build it, they likely would have done it already.

As many of you know, a similar situation is happening in Jeremy Ranch. So, what do we expect related to Jeremy Station? Here’s our prediction:

The developer has already met with the HOA presidents. It’s likely they were told that the land is going to be developed, so they might as well participate in the process. Then meetings with home owners will likely follow. Home owners will probably be against this development. However, home owners will be told that the land is getting developed one way or another. They’ll be asked if they want a tobacco store, vietnamese grocery, or pay day loan operation there because that’s what’s coming. Residents will say that they don’t like that. The developer will say, well “how about a hotel, a few good retail shops and some homes?” Residents will reply, “well that’s better but we don’t want the hotel.” The developer will say “OK, how about a small grocery store, some good retail, and the homes?” Residents will reply, “Now that is much better than the hotel, but Fresh Market is across the highway, do we need that?” The developer will say, “OK, it’s hard for us but we’ll just do small retail and homes. We may need to do a few more condos to compensate for the loss of the hotel.” The residents, will say “Great. That is so much better than a hotel or grocery store. We’re behind this.” Then the developer goes to the county council, tells them that initially Jeremy Ranch was against the development, but we’ve compromised, and now they are for it. Checkmate.

At that point, Jeremy Ranch will have given up everything … to gain nothing. No one will remember that the developer had no rights to develop a hotel, grocery store, or homes. Residents will have compromised for no reason. Some will say, “but they are going to develop the land, they said so”. That could happen but the odds are against it. There is so much office space available and so much coming up that we don’t see anyone investing in it now. Also, remember, they’ve had 10 years to develop the land and they haven’t. Why not?

Don’t get SUN PEAK-ED. If you are genuinely for more homes, a hotel, grocery, and shops in Jeremy Ranch, then by all means express that opinion. However, don’t be scared into doing something you really don’t want. Developers are smart. They hire great consultants to push things like this through. This isn’t their first rodeo. The only way the community has a chance, is to stand by your original convictions and realize you have all the leverage. If you continue to tell the county council that you don’t want this; they’ll likely listen. If not, you’ll trade 12 acres of open space for a Hilton.




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