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John Stafsholt Speaking Notes – Treasure Hill Planning Commission Mtg 2/10/10

As always, I would like to reiterate that I believe the Sweeney’s to be very forthright, respectable people.  I appreciate their making so much information available to us for a thorough review of their proposed project.  My comments refer to the Treasure Hill proposed development and not to the Sweeney’s personally.

CUP Criteria 8: Building mass, bulk, and orientation, and the locations on the site; including orientation to buildings on adjoining lots.

December 18, 1985 planning commission approval addresses SCALE: A couple exerpts

“Located in the historic district, it is important for the project designed to be compatible with the scale already established.” 

“The focus or thrust of the review process has been to examine different ways of accommodating the development of the property while being mindful of and sensitive to the surrounding neighborhood.”  

While buildings 1A and 2 are possibly the most compatible in the project.  Their location and orientation present a road on top of an approximately 22 foot vertical wall.  The wall will be very pronounced in old town and it will not be a welcome design feature, nor is the exposed road.

Bldg 1B is 6 stories and quite massive for its location at the midstation site above Woodside Ave and could be broken up similar to 1A. 

Massing issues exist with most bldgs, but especially:

Bldg 5A: 11 stories 150’ tall & 60,000  sq ft w/ 39% circulation, common space, & accessory

Bldg 5C: 12 stories 145’ tall & 81,000  sq ft w/ 37% circulation, etc…

Bldg 4B: 13 stories 137’ tall & 252,000 sq ft w/37% circulation, etc…       

The over riding design features on the site are bldg positioning and orientation to allow for maximum heights through excavation of the existing hillsides. This excavation is proposed at unprecedented volumes.  This will be addressed with CUP criteria 15.

CUP Criteria 11: Physical design and compatibility with surrounding structures in mass, scale, style, design, and architectural detailing;

As discussed in the staff report and public input, mass and scale are not compatible with surrounding structures.

Style, design, and architectural detailing should be determined by the historic district design guidelines.  This is required by the original planning commission approval dated December 18, 1985:

“MPE Inc., its successors or assignees, shall be bound by and obligated for the performance of the following:”

III. Item 6: “At the time of project review and approval, all buildings shall be reviewed for conformance with the Historic District Design Guidelines and related architectural requirements.”

These Treasure Hill buildings have not passed review with the Historic District Design Guidelines.

CUP Criteria 15: Within and adjoining the site impacts on environmentally sensitive lands, slope retention, and appropriateness of the proposed structure to the topography of the site;

The topography of the site should be respected by the proposed development.  It is not.

Every tree, bush and blade of grass will be removed from the proposed site.  This will destabilize all the soil in the project above Old Town.   Mudslides and snow slides were known to happen at this site in the past.  There  was a 1926 law titled “PROTECTION OF STANDING TIMBER ON TREASURE HILL. DANGEROUS EXCAVATION”. Tree cutting on Treasure Hill was punishable by $100 fine or up to 90 days in jail.  There was also a deadly slide in Daly in 1948 and another large slide on the other side of Empire canyon in the late 1960’s.

The developers site plan from Alta Engineering calls for an estimated 960,000 cubic yards of excavation.  To give some scale to this, think of an average dump truck. It carries 12 cubic yards of dirt.  That is 80,000 single dump truck loads.

Another example for scale.  The Montage development in Empire Pass had approximately 780,000 sq ft and their estimated excavation from the site was 50,000 CY.

Treasure Hill plans to move almost 20 times as much dirt as the Montage planned to move. 

The developers are adamant that no dirt will be removed from the site, it will be relocated on the mountain.  How can this be guaranteed when there are 4 mining sites within close proximity to the proposed development.  3 of these sites have elevated levels of lead and arsenic.  The Creole Adit is within the proposed development and contains 11,000 PPM Lead which is 11 times the acceptable limit as required by the city.

These 4 mining sites have not been mapped in detail and full geologic and geotechnical data are not available as yet from the developers.  From the Alta Engineering document, it appears Treasure Hill Bldg 4A sits directly on top of the Creole Adit.  This horizontal shaft appears to run NW to the Creole Mine Shaft and beyond.  If this is the case, the largest hotel bldg 4b also sits directly on top of the Creole Adit.  Again, more data is needed to confirm this and understand the depth and extent of the mining activity.

Again as an example, The Montage had extensive geotechnical work done prior to development.  Only 4 mining operations were found to exist at the Montage site.  After excavation commenced, an additional 4 mining operations were found at the site.  This required the Montage developers to remove another unexpected 40,000 CY of dirt.  Nearly double the total excavation and removal of contaminated soils from mining activity to Richardson Flats.

There is no approved soil remediation plan in place as yet from the Treasure Hill developers.  Their plan was to take the contaminated Creole Adit soils up to the Creole mine shaft and dump them down into the shaft (which is also contaminated), then cap the shaft with semi permeable soils.  The city has rejected this plan.

PCMC’s letter dated August 28, 2006 states, “PCMC does not agree with the strategy of transporting a higher concentration mine waste (Creole Adit 11,000PPM lead) to a lower concentration site (Creole Mine Shaft 2,200 PPM lead) for permanent placement within a shaft.  In addition, the City would consider such placement within the Creole Mine Shaft as a potential “pollution source” for the Spiro Drinking Water protection Zone, which is prohibited per PCMC’s Drinking Water Source Protection Plan ordinance detailed in Section 13-1-28.”  Of the code. 

The Creole Mine Shaft is within the Spiro Drinking Water Source Protection Zone.

This is where much of the city’s drinking water comes from.  It must be protected.

The developers are planning unprecedented excavation and there is no guarantee that this is even near the final reality of how much soil will be moved or removed from the site.

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Treasure Hill Update – The 15 Conditional Use Permit Review Criteria

The developer of Treasure Hill is currently trying to get a Conditional Use Permit approved by the Park City Planning Commission.  The developer must receive this Conditional Use Permit before any development or likely sale to another outside developer takes place.

The 15 Criteria deal with all aspects of the proposed development including:  traffic, safety, scale, massing, environment, and other architectural and design elements.  The Planning Commission has already reviewed traffic and safety issues pertaining to this project with no resolution.  The Planning Commission is now reviewing Scale and Massing issues.  

The 15 Conditional Use Permit review criteria have not changed since the original submittal.  The following are the 15 criteria in which the application must be evaluated when considering whether or not the proposed conditional use mitigates impacts:

1. size and scale of the location of the site;

2. traffic considerations including capacity of the existing streets in the area;

3. utility capacity;

4. emergency vehicle access;

5. location and amount of off-street parking;

6. internal vehicular and pedestrian circulation system;

7. fencing, screening, and landscaping to separate the use from adjoining uses;

8. building mass, bulk, and orientation, and the location of buildings on the site; including orientation to buildings on adjoining lots;

9. usable open space;

10. signs and lighting;

11. physical design and compatibility with surrounding structures in mass, scale, style, design, and architectural detailing;

12. noise, vibration, odors, steam, or other mechanical factors that might affect people and property off-site;

13. control of delivery and service vehicles, loading and unloading zones, and screening of trash

14. expected ownership and managements of the project as primary residences, condominiums, time interval ownership, nightly rental, or commercial tenancies, how the form of ownership affects taxing entities; and

15. within and adjoining the site impacts on environmentally sensitive lands, slope retention, and appropriateness of the proposed structure to the topography of the site.

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THINC Town Hall Meeting with the Mayoral Candidates – October 19th, 2009

THINC is proud to present a town hall style meeting with the 2009 Park City mayoral candidates.

Brad Olch and Dana Williams will be appearing live this coming Monday, October 19th at the Alpine Internet Café (738 Main Street). Come hear both candidates address the proposed Treasure Hill development project – one of the biggest issues facing Park City. The event starts at 6:00 PM and will last until around 8:30 PM. Here’s the schedule:

6:00 – 7:00 PM Brad Olch
7:00 – 7:15 PM Break
7:15 – 8:15 PM Dana Williams

Both candidates will be given an opportunity to discuss their thoughts on the Treasure Hill project, some of the history, and most importantly their ideas on what to do about it. There will also be time for questions and answers with both candidates so make sure to bring your questions and concerns.

This unique town hall style meeting is open to THINC members and all concerned residents of Park City.

Please spread the word and come out for this special opportunity to hear the candidates address this highly controversial issue. Space is limited so try to arrive early. I will also be sending out an Evite to better gauge attendance.

If you can’t make it, send me your questions or concerns at I will do my best to get answers.

I hope to see you at this important event!



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Mayor: send Treasure back to drawing board

Mayor Dana Williams said during a Tuesday campaign event he expects the Park City Planning Commission will soon request the Sweeney family rework its blueprints for Treasure, telling his supporters that the proposal “needs to be remanded back to the developer.”

Such a move could indefinitely stall the Sweeneys as they seek an approval for the project, which would be situated on the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort overlooking Old Town.

The family since 2004 has engaged City Hall in two primary rounds of talks. The first round ended with only modest progress. The second one, which is ongoing, is in danger of withering, with the Planning Commission appearing to have deep concerns about the proposal.

Speaking to approximately 50 people at the Wasatch Brew Pub, Williams acknowledged that he must be careful while making statements about Treasure. It seems likely the mayor and the Park City Council will consider Treasure in some fashion once the Planning Commission has completed its discussions, either through an appeal or a rarely used procedural move that allows the elected officials to reconsider a decision by the lower panel. The elected officials typically do not speak extensively about projects the Planning Commission is considering.

But Williams said the Treasure proposal does not reflect City Hall’s 1980s overall approval for the development. He said the Sweeneys are requesting a larger project than envisioned in the earlier approval. “There’s a huge disconnect in terms of what’s being applied for,” Williams said.  Williams said he anticipates the Planning Commission sometime in the next few months will break off the talks and request the Sweeneys rework the proposal. The Planning Commission is next scheduled to discuss Treasure and hold a hearing at a Sept. 23 meeting.

The Sweeneys envision Treasure as an upscale lodging option in a sought-after location on the slopes and with easy access to Main Street and surrounding Old Town. Williams, meanwhile, also spoke about his leadership style, his support of housing for senior citizens and City Hall’s environmental programs. Williams, who is seeking a third term, faces three opponents in a Sept. 15 primary. The top two finishers will advance to Election Day.

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Letter to the Sweeneys – 6/26/09

Dear Sweeneys:

I do not know if it is appropriate to contact you directly, however…

I am enclosing one of the many letters I have written to the Planning Commission, the City Council, and to the Park Record.  I am very afraid that you are not receiving the vast numbers of letters and messages expressing opposition to your proposed project.  I spent the past hour pouring over letters from Park City residents who are concerned about your efforts.

The bottom line, of course, is money.  

My hope is that your statements about being good citizens of Park City are not hollow and that you will find some way for the city or a land conservancy to provide you with enough capital to halt your efforts to develop “Treasure Hill,” which would, in my opinion, ruin Park City.  I have donated money to Brian Van Hecke’s organization and to the Land Conservancy in the hopes that someone can change the course of your efforts.

I have attended many Planning Commission meetings, and it seems that you turn a blind eye to those present and to the wishes of the rest of the citizens of Park City.  It also seems that you change meeting dates to reduce the numbers of those who do not want your development to progress.  As a mere half-time resident of Park City, I cannot attend the meeting you postponed from June 24 to July 22.  I have a teaching commitment at the University of California at Santa Barbara during that time, but my absence does not diminish my concern over your “Treasure” Hill project.

Please be aware of what you are doing to everyone else in the city, and please read this letter, one of many.

Very respectfully,

Stu Shaffer

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Next Treasure Hill meeting continued to July 22, 2009

Greetings THINC!

It’s been a long time and I just wanted to let everyone know that the next scheduled planning commission meeting regarding Treasure Hill (originally scheduled for 6/24) has been changed to 7/22.  The applicant requested the delay late last week – see the email below from Katie Cattan who works in the Park City planning department.

Also, last week I received the following email excerpt from Katie about the next meeting and what to expect:

“The topic of discussion is traffic and parking.  The applicant has returned with a new customized approach for Empire Avenue (including parking and a sidewalk).  They also performed a parking study for the parking demand of the project.”

I will keep everyone posted and will look to get this information distributed prior to the next meeting.

Finally, there are currently three open seats on the planning commission.  Eight individuals have submitted applications to fill the three open spots (including Charlie Wintzer and Dick Peak who are reapplying).  Rory Murphy is stepping down.  See link below from the recent Park Record article for more details:

Please forward any comments or questions about Treasure Hill to our blog here at



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Next Important Treasure Hill Meeting Tonight

There is an important Planning Commission meeting tonight on the proposed Treasure Hill development. Our large turnout last time made a huge impact and is needed once again.


The main topic will be traffic and safety issues. Public input will be taken and is highly encouraged. This may be our last chance to address this major issue.

Jody Burnett will also be presenting his final report regarding the “vesting and validity” of the 1986 Treasure Hill MPD. As you might recall, the City hired Jody Burnett as outside counsel to review the 23 year old Treasure Hill Master Planned Development agreement.

Finally, the Sweeneys will provide updates on the proposed project and answer questions that were raised by the planning commissioners during the last meeting on February 11, 2009. The questions to be addressed are listed in the attached.

More information and some of the Sweeneys responses (as well as consultant and engineering reports) are available online in the agenda packet starting on page 217:


Tom Eddington and Katie Cattan were interviewed on KPCW this morning regarding the meeting tomorrow night. Below is a summary of some of their comments and what to expect tomorrow night:

Revised proposed changes to Lowell Ave. including widening the street, 4’ retaining walls on the uphill side of the street, and a sidewalk on the downhill side of the street.
Revised strict parking requirements on Empire and Lowell – no overnight parking during the winter.
New stairs on 10th street to get people up to Lowell Ave.
Mass and scale will be the next topic to be discussed.


Wednesday, April 22nd @ 6:40 PM – Santy Auditorium (1255 Park Avenue). Please note that discussion on Treasure Hill is scheduled to start at 7:00 PM. Jody Burnett will be first on the agenda with his final report and findings.

Below is a link to the complete agenda:

Hope to see you at the meeting. Thanks for your support.


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