Park City continues probe of partial Old Town house collapse
November 4, 2015
City Hall officials continue to investigate the partial collapse of a house under construction in Old Town and said this week the municipal government holds a lien against the property meant to ensure a preservation plan is completed.
Bruce Erickson, the municipal government’s planning director, issued a report to Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council describing the situation at 923 Park Ave. The Oct. 23 partial collapse into an excavation underneath the structure left the house perched at an angle on wooden cribbing. City Hall approved footings, a foundation and basement as part of a renovation of the house. The house was placed on the wooden cribbing to allow the work to occur, a common construction method in the neighborhood as old houses are renovated and expanded.
The report to the elected officials says the accident remains under investigation and a cause has not been determined. The Park City Building Department and the Planning Department are involved in the investigation.
Erickson says in the report safety is the prime concern at the site. Erickson also says "we are working diligently to ensure that the remaining historic material will be preserved."
"The applicant is responsible for salvaging any historic materials that can be made safe and serviceable through repair, but may have been damaged in the fall," the report to the elected officials says.
City Hall holds a lien meant to ensure a preservation plan is followed, according to the Planning Department. The lien was placed on the property prior to the partial collapse. Park City places similar liens on other projects involving preservation work or collects financial guarantees prior to the commencement of work.
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The Planning Department said the lien attached to the project at 923 Park Ave. is $159,300. The dollar figure is calculated using a formula based on the square footage of the historic part of a structure. City Hall has not moved against the lien.
The report says City Hall staffers met at the site with members of the project team, including the architect, the excavator and the contractor. It says the "preferred solution" will be lifting the house without the need for disassembly.
"The ultimate goal is to save this structure from further damage and allow this renovation to progress as soon as possible," Erickson says in the report, noting that the Building Department will be required to approve the work.
The report does not provide a precise timeline.
Erickson also says it was "very fortunate that none of the members of the construction crew were working on the foundation at the time of this accident." Nobody was reported injured, he says.
The house dates to approximately 1901, and City Hall considers it a site significant to Park City’s history. An earlier report, prepared as part of the municipal government’s inventory of historic sites, said the structure is a "typical Park City mining era house."
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