City Hall could paint the way for Kimball expansion |

City Hall could paint the way for Kimball expansion

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

The Park City Planning Commission on Wednesday night discussed a package of changes to City Hall’s development rules, notably one that could make it possible for the Kimball Art Center expansion to be processed by the Planning Department.

The changes to the Land Management Code would cover numerous points. The ones that would impact the discussion about the Kimball Art Center expansion, though, could become the most closely watched.

The Kimball Art Center has not filed paperwork at City Hall for the expansion, a controversial idea for an addition at the Main Street-Heber Avenue intersection designed by a renowned architectural firm with offices in Denmark and New York.

The underlying zoning at the site has complicated the discussions. A change to the Land Management Code that is under consideration would allow the Kimball Art Center to seek a permit for what is known as a master planned development, something that allows a property owner more flexibility than other types of permits.

Master planned developments are not allowed at the Kimball Art Center location under the current regulations since the property does not cross two zones.

The Land Management Code could be changed to allow those sorts of developments along the north side of Heber Avenue, where the Kimball Art Center is situated, even if the property does not cross two zones.

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The Planning Commission does not want developers seeking master planned developments there to be able to secure exceptions to the height restrictions. The Kimball Art Center design breaks the height restriction, meaning that the expansion would need to be altered to fit the proposed rules or the Kimball Art Center would need to seek a variance to the restrictions. Those sorts of variances are granted by a separate panel, called the Board of Adjustment.

The restriction on the building height at the site is 32 feet. The Kimball Art Center might ask to build the expansion to a height of 80 feet.

A report submitted to the Planning Commission in anticipation of the meeting explained that adopting such a change to the Land Management Code would not be tantamount to approving the Kimball Art Center expansion. It would start a "collaborative community dialogue with the Planning Commission and the public regarding opportunities and challenges of developing the site," the report said.

Kirsten Whetstone, the City Hall planner who wrote the report, said during the meeting the proposed change was not drafted explicitly to address the Kimball Art Center.

Six people spoke to the Planning Commission. Some of them broached the Kimball Art Center expansion in their comments.

Jim Tedford, the leader of an organization called Preserve Historic Main Street, called the process "flawed from the start." His group was formed in opposition to the Kimball Art Center’s proposal. Tedford said he supports the expansion of the Kimball Art Center, but he said it should be accomplished using City Hall’s existing development rules.

Nobody spoke as a representative of the Kimball Art Center.

The Planning Commission will eventually forward a set of recommended changes to the Land Management Code to the Park City Council. The recommendations could be voted on during a meeting on Dec. 12. The elected officials are not bound by the lower panel’s recommendation.