Dispute about Park City property expected to be the main event
Panel scheduled to return to talks about space at former art center
A Park City Planning Commission meeting scheduled on Wednesday is expected to be the main event as a developer continues to renovate the historic building along Main Street that once housed the Kimball Art Center.
The developer, under the umbrella of a California firm called Columbus Pacific Properties, wants to secure a City Hall permit to operate an event space at the property. People who live nearby oppose the concept, arguing that the neighborhood would be subjected to noise and traffic.
The Planning Commission in December approved the event space, but opponents appealed the panel’s decision to the Park City Council. The elected officials in March remanded the issue back to the Planning Commission for more discussions. The meeting scheduled on Wednesday will be the first time the permit is before the Planning Commission since the approval in December.
The Planning Commission and then the City Council struggled as they considered the permit separately even though the two bodies expressed similar concerns. The discussions about the event space have been a notable recent example of the difficulties of development along Main Street, located just a block from some of Old Town’s residential streets.
The City Councilors in March requested the Planning Commission revisit the proposal with emphasis on issues like traffic, parking and the methods that could be employed to reduce the amount of noise that would escape from the event space. The Planning Commission itself spent considerable time on the topics as it prepared to approve the permit needed to operate an event space, meaning some of the discussion on Wednesday could resemble the talk late in 2016.
A City Hall report drafted in anticipation of the Planning Commission meeting indicates the developer has taken steps to address noise issues since the City Council meeting in March. The report says the developer has redone the designs for the inside of the event space in an effort to reduce the amount of noise that travels to a patio on the outside. The developer also says it will build a vestibule “that will act as a sound barrier on the interior of the building,” the report says, describing that “all connections between the event space and the exterior terrace will have a minimum of two doors in series that separate the spaces.” The report outlines that equipment that limits and monitors the noise levels will also be used.
“Staff will also be responsible for periodically checking in on noise levels and dealing with any noise deemed unacceptable when guests are using the external rooftop terrace,” the report says.
Work on the property is ongoing, and the eventual decision regarding the event space is not expected to impact the overall redevelopment. The project, known as the Kimball on Main, also includes commercial space. The developer, though, has said the event space is important to the project’s business model. Special-event rentals along Main Street have long been seen as financial windfalls by property owners. Rentals during the Sundance Film Festival have been especially lucrative. The space planned as part of the redevelopment would be one of just a few places along Main Street designed for events.
Meetings centered on the event space have been especially tough as leaders weighed the proposal against the desire for peacefulness of people in surrounding Old Town. Opponents who have testified have said the sound from the event space will be amplified by the steep topography and the impacts on the neighborhood will discourage people from living in Old Town on a full-time basis. The developer’s side has argued issues with the event space can be managed and there were impacts when the Kimball Art Center was located at the property.
The Park Record was unable to contact a representative of the developer. The Planning Commission meeting is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers at the Marsac Building. The panel is not scheduled to cast a vote. Public input will be taken, though. The Planning Department wants the panel to return to the discussions at a meeting scheduled on Oct. 25. It is not clear whether the panel will be prepared for a vote at that meeting.
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