Love Old Town? Tell City Hall why or why not | ParkRecord.com

Love Old Town? Tell City Hall why or why not

City Hall loves the historic district.

And officials want to learn what Parkites love about Old Town.

The Park City Planning Department and the municipal government’s Old Town panel, known as the Historic Preservation Board, are scheduled to host an open house centered on design guidelines that regulate development in the neighborhood. The event is planned from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 18 in the Park City Council chambers at the Marsac Building.

Tom Eddington, the planning director at City Hall, said there have been talks about revising the design guidelines for residential and commercial projects in Old Town. The current set of guidelines dates to 2009.

The design guidelines have long been controversial as City Hall tries to balance the new construction projects or remodels against the backdrop of the historic district. Property owners often see the design guidelines as being too restrictive while Park City leaders see them as being necessary to protect the historic nature of Old Town.

The dispute about the Kimball Art Center’s plans to build an expansion at the corner of Main Street and Heber Avenue was based on the design guidelines, as an example. City Hall determined the Kimball Art Center’s designs did not meet the guidelines, resulting in the not-for-profit organization putting the property on the market with the intention to relocate.

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"Everybody loves the historic district, I think, at a macro level," Eddington said. "It’s kind of the heart and soul of our community."

Officials in 2009 revised the design guidelines in an effort to make them clearer, including differentiating between new construction projects and the redo of historic buildings. The revised guidelines could be completed by the end of 2015, Eddington predicted. The revisions would be adopted after an extensive City Hall process that would include public hearings.

The open house will offer the opportunity to talk to members of the Historic Preservation Board, learn about working in Old Town and express concerns or appreciation.

Eddington said officials want to gather opinions about what sort of properties people say should be more tightly protected. He said some of the discussion on Wednesday could focus on whether buildings put up during Park City’s early skiing days should be preserved through City Hall rules. There has been talk recently about expanding protections, perhaps on a voluntary basis, to include buildings that display the architecture that was prevalent in the 1960s and the 1970s.

Eddington said he hopes more than 50 people attend the event. He anticipates a mixed crowd of Old Town residents and design professionals. Discussions about designs in Old Town typically draw a core group of people from the neighborhood as well as architects, house designers and preservation enthusiasts. The talks only sometimes draw citywide interest or interest from surrounding Summit County.

For more information, contact the Planning Department at 615-5060.