May 21, 2008
"Historic preservation" is a joke in City Hall, particularly in reference to the demolished structures at 9 Hillside Ave. Two 100-year-old significant buildings were carted off and replaced with a massive particle-board and glass reproduction. Good job, Park City Planning Department. Heck of a job, Park City Muni!
One was an irreplaceable blacksmith shop/barn highlighted on a recent KPCW apology report. The other was a functional 1,600-square-foot one-level structure which served as low-income housing for 100 years until the first clueless wealthy newcomer got his hands on it.
The house and particularly the barn were rare and beautiful living survivors from our past. Hand-built by some of our area’s earliest immigrants, they stood as battle-proven survivors of heavy snow loads, fires, and decades of multiple use. These very cool structures were framed with rough-cut 2X4s and 6s, then sheeted with heavy 3/4-inch lumber up to 10 inches wide and floored with 3/4-inch-thick tongue-and-groove fir. Relatively straight and level, and sporting a three-foot crawlspace under the house, they were much in need of repair in the hands of someone who cared. These structures were not glamorous, but they could have been, with a few bucks and careful restoration. All that remains standing after the backhoe got them are a few puny pieces of sawed-off siding and a For Sale sign. Norm Abrams would be proud. Way to go, everyone! Maybe shoulda read the approved conditions of the building permit requiring restoration of both.
Those most responsible for this illegal, surprisingly indifferent and ignorant act are the very people you think would have attended or spoken at the final City Council excuse-a-thon held a few weeks ago. You know, the ones who were predictable no-shows and without comment. The real-estate company, the owner, the architect, the builder or their suited-up lawyers. Even our five years of skimmed-over public comment during the "public process" (another insider joke) wasn’t enough to help save these city assets.
While the City Council and incompetent staff look skyward for divine intervention or explanation, a massive new NON-Historic Monster representing greed and gluttony is feverishly being completed so the same real-estate company that first sold it can sell it again for the third time ($4 million). There goes the neighborhood! OK, OK, uncle. We’ve learned our lesson. In the end, it comes down to what the planning staff’s interpretation of the words "historic," "structure" or "up" really is.
It is unbelievably criminal that our own city management ignores the existing Land Management Code and Historic District Guidelines while at the same time stating every project meets them. This dancing around in public naked expecting no one to notice is insane. How hypocritical can you get? Where’s the nutty dude with the mace when you really need him?