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Treasure deal must be SIMPLE

I was reading another Park Record article on the Treasure purchase. Each time I get more confused. What exactly is it that Parkites (I mean the 84060 variety) will be voting on and paying for? Are you buying all the Treasure land ? Most of it? Some of it? Will you get all the rights to development (and thus extinguish them)? Are you paying $64 million to enable a transfer of density, where a portion of the development rights go somewhere else? Whose density and rights are those? Is that why $90 million turned into $60 million?

So, what would you say the public is buying?

Damn it’s confusing.

That is likely by design. 

One of the things we have learned by watching Summit County and Park City government over the years is that unless something is concrete … it is quicksand. Today you are paying $60 million to not build at Treasure and tomorrow you will be paying another $60 million to not build somewhere else that was enabled by the rights from Treasure. 

We’ve heard concerns from a number of residents that the “Treasure Deal” is really a farce — that they want to put an agreement on the ballot that is so egregious that it won’t pass. Then the city government will say, “well we tried.” 

It’s dangerous times in Park City. As an outsider, I would recommend paying attention to not what your local leaders say… but how they say it.

If Park City really wants any chance of passing this, they need to make sure that all the Treasure Hill is put under a conservation easement with no other tie-ins. Buy it and give it to Summit Land Conservancy (or someone similar). Done and Done.

That is understandable. You know what you are getting for your $200 per year contribution for 20 years.

Anything else is very sketchy… which brings us back to those conspiracy theories.

Comments

3 Comments

Avatar
Steve Joyce

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

You often talk on Park Rag about how important it is for community decisions to be made in the daylight instead of in the back rooms. This deal came up as an alternative a whole week ago. Rather than keep it quiet and work out every last detail, the city made it public. This is great because we are getting lots of good feedback from residents. City Council doesn’t vote on anything until Feb 15th at the earliest. The public wouldn’t be asked to vote on anything until November. Obviously the details need to be nailed down and then explained clearly, but you seem bothered that it isn’t done yet.

Would you really rather we just make $60m decisions quickly, without considering all the alternatives or listening to public feedback? Both seem very unlike almost everything else you write.

Avatar
Parkrag

Steve-

As always, I appreciate your comments. I don’t always articulate things as clearly as I would like. So, I apologize.

Yes, I want to see how the sausage is made. I think most people think they do until they see the sausage being made. However, I feel like I can separate the final outcome from the process that made it.

That said, I think it is important for the public to push back along the way. If there is an inkling that we (and I use that term loosely because I live in 84098) are paying $64 million to buy the land but then allow the developer to transfer development rights, the public needs to know the gravity of that. It’s not the same as buying and putting it under a conservation easement.

What we at the Park Rag often do is highlight areas we are concerned with. We know the process isn’t clean, but unless we chime in on individual issues during the process we are afraid that our leaders will go down certain paths from which are hard to back away.

So, I love the fact that his discussion is out in the open. I think Park City Municipal has shown that it is the most transparent, local government organization during the past few years. I just hope that the city council and city government feel strong enough about their ultimate decision that they can make a 30 second elevator speech on it.

If that is “voters… we ask you to give us $50 million and in return we will buy treasure hill and extinguish all development rights. It will become a park. End of story.”… we love that.

If that is “voters… we ask you to give us $50 million and in return we will buy treasure hill and in return we will give the developer the rights to the Brew Pup lot, 25% of all revenue from parking meters, and a transfer of density that will enable residential or commercial building at almost anywhere in Park City “… we are OK with that too. If we lived there we would vote against it… but we appreciate the honesty.

Just please don’t tell the populace we need your $50 million to buy Treasure Hill and everything will be great… and then leave out the details.

So, this post was really about trying to make sure a SIMPLE proposition is eventually made to the public — a proposition that lays out exactly what is happening. Along the way, I hope we see the sausage being made. Of course, we may tell you how gross parts of it are. Ultimately, we hope the city will take that into account, adjust accordingly, and be honest about what we are buying.

I have no reason to think they won’t. The Park Rag just likes to be constant reminder that people are watching and that people do care.

Avatar
Steve Joyce

All fair concerns…. We have tried to make sure we examine all the alternatives before inking a Settlement Agreement and Purchase Agreement.

We talked at length about whether it makes any sense to consider using a small chunk of the land for affordable housing. So far, everything points to “no”. Too hard. Too expensive. Makes the deal more complex.

The Density Transfer piece confuses a lot of people and we hope to clarify that as we go along. We aren’t talking about making TDRs part of the deal. If we do a simple land purchase, the city gets all the land and all the density. No different than any other standard land deal. Based on Park City’s LMC, if you hold density in one of the zoned Density Sending Zones (and Treasure Hill is) you can sell some density to a willing buyer in a specified Density Receiving zone. There aren’t many of those. The most important thing is that even though we are buying over 200 UEs of density, we could only transfer a max of 22 UEs. That’s all LMC, nothing defined in this deal. The only reason we would even consider density transfer is that selling the density would allow us to reduce the price of the bond. It would be the city transferring density, not the current land owners.

TDRs are a very public, defined process. You have to have a seller in the right area, a willing buyer in a different right area, an agreed to price, and then approval by both the Planning Commission and the City Council. Lots of opportunities for public comment. Anyone who wants all the exciting detail can read http://www.parkcity.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=8888

Keep the concerns coming! Just know that we are still in the sausage making stage.


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