Bonanza Park talks ready to restart after ‘misunderstandings’ | ParkRecord.com

Bonanza Park talks ready to restart after ‘misunderstandings’

Park City officials are scheduled to present City Hall’s ideals for the Bonanza Park district on Tuesday during what could be an important open house as they continue to craft a controversial set of development rules for the district.

The open house on Tuesday is expected to be the first major event since a highly charged meeting of the Park City Planning Commission in October. Speakers at that meeting expressed a range of concerns about the development rules City Hall is considering in Bonanza Park, a swath of Park City roughly bounded by Kearns Boulevard, Bonanza Drive and Park Avenue.

The open house is scheduled to run from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the Blind Dog restaurant, 1251 Kearns Blvd. City Hall organized the event. The Planning Department anticipates sending up to five staffers. Displays will include the ideals for Bonanza Park, goals for the district and frequently asked questions.

Christy Alexander, one of the City Hall planners involved in the Bonanza Park efforts, said the open house is part of a "listening campaign." She said the Planning Department has held five smaller public meetings and addressed community groups since Nov. 13. Staffers have also met individually with property owners in Bonanza Park and concerned citizens. The smaller public meetings included gatherings designed for the Iron Horse district and residential sections of Bonanza Park.

The recent efforts came after the Planning Commission meeting in October. The panel heard 45 minutes of mostly critical testimony. People who spoke at the meeting worried about further restrictions on development in Bonanza Park, indicated there is significant opposition to the ideas and questioned whether buildings would be too tall in the district.

"Some of the things were misunderstandings or miscommunication," Alexander said about the testimony, adding that the discussions since then have been constructive.

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Bonanza Park has long been seen as an underutilized section of Park City that has not enjoyed the same level of investment as elsewhere in the city. One of the critical landowners in Bonanza Park, Mark J. Fischer, holds ambitious ideas to remake his properties into an attractive destination with residences, restaurants and shops. Fischer’s vision was one of the key factors in City Hall’s decision to consider a new set of development ideals for Bonanza Park. Fischer, however, recently said a form-based code could increase development costs in Bonanza Park, making it difficult for landowners to build work force housing in the district.

The Planning Department is attempting to create a new set of rules for development in Bonanza Park, known as a form-based code. Such a code encompasses planning, zoning and design ideals. Officials say a form-based code would result in a district that offers a mix of uses, housing available to a range of income levels and public spaces. They say a form-based code could be more useful in attaining the goals of Bonanza Park than City Hall’s current development rules.

City Hall could eventually be asked to invest heavily in Bonanza Park infrastructure, such as providing assistance in building a road network. Fischer has estimated upward of $20 million in funds from the municipal government could be needed over a 10-year span.

Alexander said she hopes between 50 and 60 people attend the open house. The Park City Council is tentatively scheduled to address Bonanza Park during a meeting on Dec. 11.

There has appeared to be interest in the talks about Bonanza Park elsewhere in Park City, but they have been most closely watched by people who live in the district or who have interests there. There have been discussions at some level about the future of the district since the middle of the last decade, as Fischer began considering options for the patchwork of properties under his control. One of the notable episodes in the talks involved an idea to move a Rocky Mountain Power substation from one of the strategic Bonanza Park parcels to a spot across Bonanza Drive. The idea was rejected amid criticism from people who lived close to the location where the substation would be moved toward.

For more information about the open house, contact Alexander at 615-5068 or christy.alexander@parkcity.org. Information is also available on the City Hall website, http://www.parkcity.org. Select ‘Bonanza Park Redevelopment’ in the News section. The direct link is: http://www.parkcity.org/index.aspx?page=773.

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