Guest editorial: New Kimball Art Center design doesn’t fit historic district
March 14, 2014
The height limit in the HRC zone (which includes the KAC) is 32 feet. The only applicable exception states that, "Church spires, bell towers, and like architectural features subject to the Historic District Design Guidelines, may extend up to 50% above the zone height, but may not contain Habitable Space above the zone height. Such exception requires approval by the Planning Director".
Here are a few of many statements from the Park City Land Management Code, the Park City Historic District Design Guidelines, the Park City General Plan, and the National Park Service Standards for Rehabilitation (the KAC is located in a National Historic District) that prohibit the proposed addition.
"To allow development in a manner that encourages the preservation of scenic vistas, environmentally sensitive lands, Historic Structures, the integrity of Historic Districts, and the unique urban scale of original Park City." Purpose of the Park City Land Management Code
"Additions should be visually subordinate to historic buildings when viewed from the primary public right-of-way." Park City Historic District Design Guidelines
"Preserve the integrity, mass, scale, compatibility, and historic fabric of the nationally and locally designated historic resources and districts for future generations." Goal 15 – Park City General Plan
"New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the massing, size, scale, and architectural features to protect the historic integrity of the property and its environment." National Park Service Standards for Rehabilitation
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How is the new proposal "more in keeping with the spirit of Park City’s cherished historic district"? Our Main Street is truly a cherished commodity as witnessed by the ads placed in national magazines by our three resorts, the many signs coming into town, the numerous magazine articles, the opinions of our visitors, and statements by local residents. The new proposal is not in keeping with the spirit of Park City’s mining-era Main Street. Take a look up the street and it is obvious the cherished historic district is gradually disappearing. If we want to save Historic Main Street we can’t make exceptions for any new additions or structures that don’t meet the local and national guidelines. They must all adhere to the strictest interpretation of the Land Management Code, the Historic District Design Guidelines, the Park City General Plan, and the National Park Service Standards.
The Kimball Art Center has done great things for Park City and they can continue this tradition. Since they are considering an "off-site campus" in town, why not build a totally new structure in an area that needs some enhancement and has fewer restrictions? Then they can design an addition for their current location that complements Historic Main Street.