Developer signals plan to submit new application for controversial Park City event space
A developer seeking approval to operate a controversial event space along Main Street has signaled its intent to withdraw an application before the Park City Planning Commission and submit an alternative request that will hinge on a determination from the city’s planning director, according to City Hall officials.
The move comes as the Planning Commission was nearing a decision on the event space, in a project on the high-profile corner of Main Street and Heber Avenue at the former location of the Kimball Art Center. A contentious debate has swirled around the proposal. The Planning Commission initially approved the space in 2016, prompting critics to appeal the decision to the Park City Council, which in 2017 remanded the matter back to the planning panel.
The developer, under the corporate umbrella of a firm called Columbus Pacific Properties, has informed city officials it plans to seek permission to operate an outdoor event space on the project’s deck through an approval known as an administrative conditional use permit, according to Bruce Erickson, the planning director at City Hall. Erickson would determine whether to grant the permit.
However, the developer would not need the Planning Department’s OK to operate an indoor event space at the site, Erickson said. The request before the Planning Commission sought approval to operate both an indoor and outdoor event space under a single permit. Erickson said it could take roughly 30 days to render a decision on the outdoor space once the developer submits an application. His determination would be open to appeal.
Erickson’s review would follow the same criteria as the Planning Commission’s process, he said. The Planning Commission has pressed concerns like the event space’s impact on parking, traffic and noise. The developer has argued that it has taken measures to mitigate adverse effects, such as installing equipment designed to limit the noise from speakers that would be heard in the surrounding neighborhood.
“Whatever impacts may or may not be there, we’re not changing the rules,” Erickson said of the process to secure the administrative permit. “The rules remain the same. It just (changes) who’s going to make the determination as to whether the impacts are adequately mitigated.”
The Planning Commission was readying to vote on the event space, perhaps at a scheduled meeting Wednesday, before the developer indicated its plan to withdraw the application. The meeting was ultimately canceled due to lack of a quorum. At a Planning Commission meeting in October, a representative for the developer appeared frustrated with the timeline, saying the panel delaying a vote until November would negatively impact the project because the busy winter season would be nearing.
Resistance to the event space from people who live nearby has been pointed. Residents have given impassioned testimony against the proposal during city meetings throughout the approval process, keying in on the impacts the space could have on the surrounding neighborhood.
The developer has countered that event spaces are common on Main Street and that the one envisioned in the proposal is similar in nature to restaurants that operate in the area.
A representative for the developer did not respond to a phone call seeking comment.
The developer undertook a major renovation of the space after acquiring it from the Kimball Art Center. The project includes a commercial component, in addition to the event space. The chain outdoor clothing retailer L.L. Bean recently opened its first Utah location within the project.
A critic of a Park City workforce or otherwise affordable housing project in Old Town said he is considering an appeal of the Park City Planning Commission’s approval of the development.