Judge upholds decision to block Park City Mountain Lifts

Third District Court Judge Richard Mrazik found that the Park City Planning Commission’s decision to block the lift upgrades fell within its scope of authority and was backed by reasonable evidence.

Lawyers for Park City Mountain argued the commission’s decision was out of bounds and driven by public clamor.

The matter was brought to the commission last summer after four residents appealed the Park City planning director’s approval to upgrade the Eagle and Silverlode lifts.

Vail Resorts had purchased the replacement lifts for Park City which were then delivered to Whistler Blackcomb and have now been installed.

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According to a 1998 development agreement between the resort and the city, any lift upgrade must include a plan to ensure there is enough parking.

The resort’s lawyers argued that expert evidence suggests more lift capacity doesn’t constitute the need for more parking.

But Mrazik said the commission was presented evidence at the time that raised reasonable questions about the validity of the parking plan.

“That evidence in the record supporting those reasonable questions included the fact that the parking mitigation plan was based on an expert analysis that had one comparable ski area: Alta, Utah,” Mrazik said. “Which is at the top of a dead-end canyon, with no Main Street, retail, drop-off, no hanging out for non-skiing family members.”

Mrazik said other concerns were brought up about the parking plan, including the availability of space at Park City High School and employee parking spots.

The judge said that gave the commission reason to be skeptical of the planning director’s initial approval.

“We appreciate the District Court’s time and consideration of our appeal. We continue to be disappointed in the Park City Planning Commission’s decision to revoke the permit for these lift upgrades, but remain committed to investing in the guest experience at Park City Mountain,” resort spokesperson Sara Huey said.

“Though disagreements in our community can be contentious at times, our system is designed to resolve these matters deliberately as is the case today,” Park City Municipal spokesperson Clayton Scrivner said. “We appreciate the Court recognized the diligence of our Planning Commission, whose complex work often goes underappreciated.”

Park City Mountain can appeal the decision to an appellate court.

Park City Lift Upgrades Blocked

Previously published by: KPCW