General Plan, important Park City growth document, adopted
March 11, 2014
Park City leaders have adopted a redone growth blueprint, ending a lengthy process that spanned the terms of elected officials and occupied the time of numerous City Hall officials in recent years.
The Park City Council last week approved the overhaul of a document known as the General Plan, finishing work that started in 2010. The General Plan is an overarching document meant to guide growth. It includes an overview of Park City’s neighborhoods and numerous other topics.
The document, though, does not include City Hall’s detailed development rules. Those are contained in a different document called the Land Management Code. The detailed rules outlined in the Land Management Code are broadly based on the ideals in the General Plan. It is likely that years of future decisions at City Hall related to planning and zoning will rely at some level on the General Plan.
The recent adoption came more than two months after a former set of Park City elected officials aggressively attempted to complete the work by the early January end of the terms of former Mayor Dana Williams and a former City Councilor, Alex Butwinski. It appeared toward the end of 2013 that the work was not finished and a vote was delayed until this year. The Park City Planning Commission, too, cast its vote recommending in favor of the General Plan with some newcomers.
The lengthy process drew varying degrees of interest from Parkites over the years. There appeared to be excitement by some early on, as City Hall described the process as one that would shape Park City’s future. As the discussions wore on, though, there appeared to be just scattered public interest. A small core group of City Hall watchers regularly provided testimony.
The City Council received brief public comments prior to the vote last week. Hope Melville mentioned that, perhaps, a section could be added to the General Plan addressing the idea of lessening the impact of construction projects. Her comment came as City Hall has been pressing contractors along Main Street about the topic. Jim Tedford, who has provided a range of testimony, asked whether his ideas would be further considered before the vote. The elected officials indicated they would not be included in the document.
Toward the end of 2013, as it seemed that the General Plan could be adopted at that time, there was renewed interest by people worried about how the document could impact their neighborhoods. The concerns included whether homeowners associations would retain the same oversight under the General Plan as they have had. Officials seemed to diffuse some of those concerns over the course of several meetings.
In its introduction, the General Plan talks about alternate transportation modes like a gondola and a streetcar, a green community and the idea of Park City becoming an "outdoor lifestyle" city.
"Park City will not be ‘anywhere’ USA; the City will maintain its funk and approach development as an opportunity to continue the unique brand that is Park City," the introduction says.
The General Plan early in the document describes a mission to "Keep Park City Park City," a phrase that was used repeatedly during the discussions to describe a desire to ensure that a growing community does not alter its basic characteristics. The document focuses on what were determined to be core values: small town, sense of community, natural setting and historic character.
It includes a neighborhood-by-neighborhood look at Park City, describing their features and describing how they should grow. There are maps, photographs and illustrations accompanying the text.
The most recent overhaul of the General Plan was undertaken over a five-year period between 1997 and 2002.
The General Plan is available on City Hall’s website, http://www.parkcity.org . Select ‘General Plan – Final’ in the News section of the front page of the site.