Pivotal decision about Kimball Art Center delayed by weeks
May 20, 2014
City Hall’s review of the Kimball Art Center’s proposed expansion was temporarily stopped nearly a month ago and has not yet restarted as officials await additional materials.
The stoppage has not been widely publicized. It will, however, apparently delay for weeks a decision on the disputed expansion proposal. The review, which was to last up to 45 calendar days, started after a well-attended March 31 hearing about the project.
The 45-day window was stopped on April 24, according to the Park City Planning Department. Anya Grahn, the preservation planner at City Hall and one of the staffers involved in the review, said on Monday officials realized they needed the additional materials to continue.
Grahn said, as examples, inconsistencies and variations were discovered in a report detailing the physical condition of the existing Kimball Art Center building as well as in the preservation plan for the building. She said the inconsistencies and variations are minor issues.
She said she emailed questions to one of the architects on the Kimball Art Center team on April 24. The Planning Department early in the week had not yet received a formal response, she said. Some of the topics she broached in the questions included the detailed plans for the patio space at the Kimball Art Center and whether it would be excavated to build a basement. Other issues included the design of a rooftop deck that would be built atop the existing building and retaining walls that are not historic.
Officials from City Hall and Craig Elliott, a Park City-based architect who is on the Kimball Art Center team, met on Friday to discuss the issues, Grahn said.
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The 45-day window would have closed on May 14. Grahn said it is common for a review to stop and start during a 45-day window, pushing back the deadline on a review.
Grahn, Planning Director Thomas Eddington and Kayla Sintz, who is the planning manager, are the key staffers reviewing the proposal.
The staffers are reviewing whether the proposal meets City Hall’s strict Old Town guidelines. A separate review is also underway to consider whether Eddington will grant an exception to City Hall’s height restrictions.
The two decisions were anticipated as early as the end of May, but the timeline will be extended as City Hall awaits the additional materials.
Matt Mullin, the chairman of the Kimball Art Center board of directors, said on Tuesday the art center team is working through feedback from City Hall.
The Kimball Art Center has hired a well-known Danish architectural firm, Bjarke Ingels Group, to design the expansion. The design is the second one from the firm after an original idea was widely criticized as a building that would upset the Main Street streetscape.
The expansion proposal involves a 15,000-square-foot addition at the high-profile Main Street-Heber Avenue intersection. It would range in height from 32 feet tall to 46 feet tall and be connected to the existing building on both stories. The Kimball Art Center says the expansion would provide more room for exhibitions and programs.
The expansion proposal has drawn both accolades and criticisms. The supporters say the modern-looking expansion will fit well along Main Street as a complement to the historic streetscape. The critics, though, contend the design is out of place on a historic street.