Neighbors mount broad challenge to Park City event space
Project at ex-art center site will be noisy, draw traffic, appeal says
Opponents of a plan to operate an event space at the former site of the Kimball Art Center have appealed a City Hall panel’s approval of the permit that was needed for the space, adding to a lengthy list of examples at the site highlighting the difficulties of developing in Old Town.
The Park City Historical Society and two individuals who live close to the site – John Stafsholt and Sanford Melville – submitted the three-page appeal on Dec. 22. It was signed by Melville. The appeal of the Park City Planning Commission approval will be put before the Park City Council. The Park City Planning Department anticipates the appeal will be heard in mid-February.
The Planning Commission in December approved a permit allowing an event space to operate at the site, which is located at the high-profile Main Street-Heber Avenue intersection. The vote was unanimous, but there was resistance from some in the neighborhood at the approval meeting. They were concerned about an event space operating so close to the surrounding neighborhood. The developer, a firm under the umbrella of California-based Columbus Pacific Properties, sees the event space as critical to the business plan of the redevelopment.
The project earlier won an approval for the redevelopment of the site, but a separate permit was needed to operate the event space. The developers recently built a construction fence around the site, signaling the start of work. The appeal is a challenge to the event space rather than the overall project, saying the event space is “not compatible due to its impact on the municipality and surrounding neighbors, and the conditions imposed as part of the approval do not substantially mitigate or eliminate the detrimental impacts.”
Some of the points in the appeal include:
The appeal also lists concerns about a rooftop deck and whether the event space jibes with City Hall’s General Plan, an overarching document that guides growth in Park City.
In an interview, Melville said the approval for the event space is an issue the City Council should decide. He said the approval eliminates the need for City Hall to further review events that are planned at the location.
“I think the issue of a private outdoor event space . . . is a large enough policy issue it should get before the City Council,” Melville said, adding, “This event space is for all time in the future.”
He also said the elected officials should consider the matter since “they answer to the voters.”
The event space will likely be the last major decision made about the redevelopment of the property after a lengthy civic dialog about the critical corner. The Kimball Art Center itself at one point wanted to build an expansion onto what is now a patio at the intersection. The art center design proposals encountered resistance, resulting in the not-for-profit organization selling the property.
The developer also had difficulty proceeding through the approval process and eventually modified the project substantially to one that includes commercial square footage and the event space. The developer has said there is significant demand for event space and that the project is not expected to be as successful if there is not the space for events. The Park Record was unable to contact the developer about the appeal.
The dispute about the event space illustrates the longtime issues involving developers along Main Street and people who live on nearby Old Town streets like Park Avenue and Woodside Avenue. City Hall over the years has needed to delicately weigh the interests of the neighborhood against the rights of property owners on the sometimes-raucous shopping, dining and entertainment strip.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Park City and Summit County make the Park Record's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Sales-tax collections in Park City in July beat City Hall projections by a wide margin, providing a key data point that illustrates a nascent economic comeback of sorts from the spring business shutdowns.