PCMR Urges Judge to Postpone Imminent Eviction Decision
SAM Magazine—Park City, Utah, June 17, 2014—Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) made several filings last week in advance of 3rd District Judge Ryan Harris’ decision on whether to sign an eviction order for the resort, as landlord Talisker Land Holdings has requested. PCMR has urged the judge to not sign the order, or to at least postpone its effective date if he does sign it.
Judge Ryan Harris has ruled in favor of Talisker on key aspects of the case regarding PCMR's lease of the land containing much of its terrain, including his determination that the lease expired in 2011. PCMR says it plans to appeal the decisions, and wants any eviction order postponed until its appeals have been settled.
However, a hearing on the eviction order—technically, an order of restitution, filed by Talisker—is set for June 19. If it is signed and made effective, Talisker has said it would require PCMR to leave the disputed terrain within 60 days.
PCMR’s filings ask the judge to postpone signing an eviction order, as well as a hearing about the enforcement of an eviction order, until the appeal process has been exhausted. The filings also warn of “catastrophic” consequences for the Park City economy, not just the resort, if PCMR should be evicted from the property.
PCMR has also argued for more than 60 days if the judge does sign the eviction order. One filing describes how PCMR would remove its non-permanent property—including most of the chairlifts, plus snowmaking gear, vehicles, furniture, and other equipment from buildings on land not owned by PCMR—from the disputed land.
It would cost an estimated $3.57 million to remove several lifts and parts of others, PCMR says, and the work would require an estimated 33 weeks—assuming crews worked around the clock every day.
The resort’s plan includes shortening three lifts at the base of PCMR, to keep them on its owned land. That work would require 8 to 15 weeks for each lift, and cost a total of $1.75 million.
The filing adds that it would take a crew of up to 40 people or more 10 weeks to remove the other equipment (snowmaking, vehicles, etc.) if they worked every day. That cost is estimated at $427,570.
And what if PCMR appeals the eviction and wins? Reinstalling the infrastructure and undoing the lower lift modifications would require two construction seasons—or longer—and cost approximately $7.3 million.
Impacts to the local economy could also be severe, PCMR says. If reduced to operating on its owned terrain, visits could shrink by more than 75 percent, and most businesses in Park City would see a drop in visitors—and income—as well. This would "have a catastrophic impact on the local economy," the filing predicts.
In response to PCMR’s filings, Talisker issued a prepared statement last Friday. “The Court has ruled that PCMR's lease with Talisker expired on April 30, 2011. PCMR has now had use of Talisker's land for more than three years without paying rent, all the while making enormous profits,” it read. “Yesterday's motions are nothing more than PCMR's latest unfounded attempt at delay.
“PCMR has publicly admitted that they hope to convince Utah courts to ignore 100 years of their own precedents and adopt the law of other states. With all due respect, that is an abuse of our legal system and Talisker has no intention of allowing PCMR's misguided efforts to continue. A solution cannot be reached, for next season or the long-term, until PCMR finally acknowledges that their lease has expired, ends their legal maneuvering and begins to talk about realistic solutions to this situation.”