PARK CITY — Two sides in a often bitter dispute over the future of Park City Mountain Resort were ordered Thursday to work together toward a resolution following a judge's eviction order and stay of that action to allow negotiations through the summer.
Ryan Harris, 3rd District Court judge, said Thursday it was "pretty clear" that Park City Mountain Resort is unlawfully occupying land owned by Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, its landlord in the dispute.
That brought the order for Park City Mountain Resort to vacate the land, but the decision was stayed with both sides ordered into mediation to resolve the dispute by Aug. 15.
Harris scheduled a hearing Aug. 27 to discuss how to move forward if there is a deal acceptable to both sides. If there is no deal, discussion will be on what is fixed to the soil, such as ski lifts, and what isn't to determine how the property would be vacated.
Thursday's action was the latest move in a two-year battle between Park City Mountain Resort and Talisker, a luxury real estate, recreation and hospitality company, that began when the Mountain Resort failed to re-sign its lease renewal. Talisker owns a majority of the land but Park City Mountain Resort owns the base, several lifts, and water rights.
"There’s been remarkable ability from the attorneys to cooperate and I commend you all for that and I expect that will continue," the judge said.
Alan Sullivan, attorney for Park City Mountain Resort, said the case can be resolved.
"We’ve been given a real prompt by the court to resolve this case and do it quickly and we're very hopeful that we can do that," Sullivan said as he exited the Summit County courtroom. "There are lots of options to consider and we’re certainly willing to do our part."
Sullivan said one of the motivations of the court to stay the action is the implications of the eviction.
"It would have an enormous impact on my clients but it would have an even greater impact on the people of Park City and Summit County," he said.
Sullivan said there is no talk of an appeal now to the eviction ruling, but he said there is a motion pending before the court that would allow a future appeal.
"The fact is that we are going to mediate," he said. "It's in everybody's interest and the public's interest to get this thing done."
John Lund, attorney for Talisker hoped the ruling Thursday would "nudge Park City closer to the reality that they're facing."
"The main obstacle from our standpoint all along has been these folks just not understanding the reality of having lost their lease. And hopefully that’s sunk in and we can move forward toward a business resolution."
Lund said that although the case is moving forward, the two parties are also moving forward with a resolution.
"We're confident there's a lot of very smart business people here who can find a successful resolution to this," Lund said.