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Large new luxury condo-hotel planned in old part of Park City

ALLEN BESTspecial to the daily

PARK CITY, Utah – Work has begun on a condo-hotel in the old part of Park City, and it’s unusual in several respects.Called The Sky Lodge, it’s the first such luxury hotel in that part of Park City, which was created in the mining days and still has many original buildings. The 76 time-share units have been sold in five shares, with the maximum prices hitting $2,000 a square foot. That price is on par with Aspen, reports the developer, Bill Shoaf. Fifty percent of units have been pre-sold.Second, because it is surrounded by older buildings, the developer was forced to accommodate them by step-backs in the hotel’s height. Among the other buildings are an old railroad depot, a coal and lumber station, and even a tack shed that, in a curious shift, is to be moved and transformed into a Japanese-inspired spa.The project is expected to yield $3.9 million directly and indirectly in taxes for the town. In addition, for every unit sold, the developer has committed $1,000 to the Performing Arts Foundation. Shoaf told The Park Record that such properties should be active participants in their communities.Snow surveying pioneer honored 100 years laterTRUCKEE, Calif. – It’s not often that a professor of liberal arts gets recognized for contributions to the hard sciences, but Reno’s James Church was an uncommon individual, notes The Associated Press. He is being recognized by various water officials and others for his work 100 years ago in quantifying how much water a given snowpack will yield in the streams and rivers.Church is remembered as the “father of snow surveying,” and is described as “one of the most renowned figures in the history of water supply management.” Water experts always knew that there was a correlation between the snowpack and runoff, but had been unable to predict runoff, because the water content of snow varies within the snowpack. Church figured out how to use a tube to pull out columns of snow along fixed, straight lines.His background was hardly as a numbers guy. He was a professor of Latin language and literature, teaching at the University of Nevada-Reno. But he really was a Renaissance man, who did many things in many fields. He died in 1959 at the age of 90.Ketchum, Blaine County work on housing regsKETCHUM, Idaho – In Ketchum and surrounding Blaine County, public officials continue to assemble regulations to assure that they won’t get caught in the years ahead without housing for working-type locals, reports the Idaho Mountain Express.In Ketchum, town officials are sometimes told by developers that affordable housing requirements have become onerous. A $4,000 consultant was recently hired to establish a base line of building costs, to help better evaluate just what the market will bear.”If proposed development requirements are (X, Y, and Z), and developers say, ‘That’s exorbitant,’ we’ll have this economic analysis to give us a starting point to figure out the economics of zoning changes, as well as a negotiating point with developers,” said Ron LeBlanc, city administrator. “We’ll have some idea what the market can bear.””A number of developers have come back to us and said (30 percent) affordable housing is not going to work,” said planning director Harold Moniz. With the study, he said, “We’ll be able to recommend to the City Council … what makes economic sense, what makes rational sense.”Elsewhere, Blaine County commissioners are planning to require 20 percent of all future subdivisions be devoted to affordable housing. Sun Valley requires 15 percent, the newspaper adds, and the down-valley town of Hailey requires 20 percent.The ordinance was crafted by Will Collins, a planning consultant from Jackson Hole, to boost affordable housing for households making between 80 percent and 140 percent of the county’s median income. The Mountain Express reports that the county’s average – presumably, it meant median – annual household is $71,200.Couple circumnavigates Jackson Hole in 23 daysJACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – A couple from Jackson Hole used April to circumnavigate the valley, a 170-mile trip that took them across high mountains, areas of old forest fires, and in the fresh tracks of grizzly bears.Reed Finlay, a 37-year-old lift supervisor at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and his wife, Rebecca Huntington, until recently a reporter at the Jackson Hole News & Guide, skied most of the trip.”The whole idea was to circle Jackson Hole and link up all these different parts of our valley,” said Finlay, who conceived of the idea 10 years ago. He said the goal was not to bag summits or, other than to complete the circle, to reach some arbitrary point or another. Instead, the idea was to journey through the diversity of the region.In all, the trip took 23 days. While some might think that such sustained proximity would put strains on a marriage, Huntington said it did not. “There was no more sniping than we would have in a normal day at home,” she said. “Only one of us was allowed to have a meltdown at any given time, which was mostly me.”Canmore thinking about life inside the (big) boxCANMORE, Alberta – It’s possible that a big Wal-Mart could end up next to a yoga studio in one of Canmore’s last commercial pods in a major new project called Three Sisters. The town laws currently allow a maximum store size of 54,000 square feet, or somewhat larger than your average big grocery store. The Rocky Mountain Outlook reports some heartburn about the potential of a giant store, although the town is also requiring a retail impact study. Town officials seem to think the study requirement will discourage potential big-box retailers, although it’s not clear why.Empty promises about a lifestyle now absent?WHISTLER, B.C. – Newspapers in all mountain towns, whether new or old, have their fair share of snippy letters. The sourness seems to reach a peak in spring, when winter is still fighting with summer for supremacy. A case in point are the letters in Whistler’s Pique in early May. “This place stinks,” says one Andrew Carrigan. “It is full of high-minded people with no grounding in reality.”He goes on to say that the goal of sustainability, which is hoisted often in Whistler, is a “joke that must end.” Employee housing is a good idea, he added, but a reality no one is willing to deliver. And then there’s what he calls the ra-ra-ra cheers of the management robots. “Empty promises about a lifestyle that Whistler can no longer deliver,” he concludes.


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