Developer reconsiders idea for project at Kimball Art Center site
May 5, 2015
The developer who acquired the Kimball Art Center property has withdrawn a disputed City Hall application seeking to change the language of a section of the municipal government’s detailed zoning rules, something that the firm pressed for prior to finalizing the purchase of the historic property.
David Luber, the manager of LCC Properties Group, informed the Park City Council in a one-page letter on April 28. The letter says the firm "is in the process of considering comments and suggestions from the public and staff" during a meeting of the Park City Planning Commission on April 8.
The Planning Commission at that meeting forwarded the proposed change to the elected officials with a negative recommendation. The vote was 4-1. The City Council was not bound by the lower panel’s recommendation, but the elected officials oftentimes side with the Planning Commission on such matters.
The City Council had been expected to begin its discussions about the proposal during a meeting on Thursday. The letter from Luber said he understood the proposal would be removed from the agenda of the Thursday meeting.
LCC Properties Group had wanted City Hall to change the municipal government’s detailed development rules, which are outlined in a document known as the Land Management Code. Park City leaders were considering a change in language that would have increased the building height allowed at the Kimball Art Center location from 32 feet tall to 45 feet tall, essentially increasing the restriction from three stories to four stories.
The change would have covered properties on the north side of Heber Avenue between Park Avenue and Swede Alley. The discussions about a redevelopment of the Kimball Art Center site triggered the discussions, though.
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The proposal to change the language was divisive as some Parkites supported the idea as a means to redevelop the Kimball Art Center site while many others derided the concept, saying that the project would not fit along Main Street and set a precedent.
The Planning Commission during the April 8 hearing received testimony that illustrated the divide. Planning Commissioners in their comments prior to making the negative recommendation spoke about topics like a taller building at the site and the prospects of casting a precedent-setting vote. City Hall, meanwhile, received written testimony in the period before the meeting that was overwhelmingly in opposition to the change. It is likely the elected officials would have received similar testimony during a hearing that would have been required prior to a vote being cast.
LCC Properties Group will apparently redesign a proposal for the site that would not require the change. The firm did not provide details as it closed on the acquisition and withdrew the application seeking the change. It is not clear what sort of timeline LCC Properties Group anticipates.
As the discussions with City Hall began, the firm outlined an ambitious redevelopment of the property involving turning the Kimball Art Center building into commercial space and putting up a new building on the space that is now the art center’s patio. The new building was seen as having commercial space on the lower levels and residences on the upper floors.
The Kimball Art Center put the property on the market after City Hall rejected a proposal by the not-for-profit organization to expand onto the patio. Park City officials determined the designs did not meet City Hall’s tight Old Town guidelines. The efforts to redevelop the property — first by the Kimball Art Center itself and then by the Luber firm — have been among the most controversial along Main Street in years. LCC Properties Group led the group that acquired the property.