Park City event space seen as disrupting Old Town |

Park City event space seen as disrupting Old Town

Opponents detail concerns as important appeal hearing nears

The redevelopment of the onetime Kimball Art Center property along Main Street is continuing. The plans call for an event space. Opponents, though, are challenging the City Hall approval of the event space, claiming it would be disruptive to the neighborhood. The Park City Council on Thursday is scheduled to hear the appeal.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

Opponents of a developer’s plans to operate an event space in the building that once housed the Kimball Art Center have drafted a 14-page explanation of their formal challenge to a City Hall panel’s approval of the space, an important document written as Park City leaders prepare to render a decision next week.

The document, dated March 19, is signed by three people who filed an appeal of a Park City Planning Commission decision approving the event space. The Planning Commission vote and the appeal were made in late 2016. The Park City Council is scheduled to hear the appeal on Thursday. Sanford Melville and John Stafsholt, two Old Town residents who oppose the plans, signed the document alongside Sandra Morrison, who is the executive director of the Park City Historical Society. The two individuals and the Historical Society filed the appeal. The appealing parties want the City Council to reverse the Planning Commission’s granting of a permit for the event space.

The document is lengthier and more detailed than the actual appeal filed in December. It serves as supporting material to the appeal itself, covering additional topics and the earlier ones in greater depth. Melville, Stafsholt and the Historical Society have broad concerns about the permit the Planning Commission issued allowing event space at the property. The appeal centers on the event space rather than the overall redevelopment of the historic property. Work has started on the redevelopment.

The opponents have been worried about the noise an event space could send into the neighborhood. The property is close to residential streets like upper Park Avenue and Woodside Avenue. Noise from Main Street regularly is heard in the neighborhood. The document notes that the event space will have room for 480 people and operate until midnight.

“The adjacent residential neighborhood extends up the hillsides above the event center location. The noises emanating outward and upward from the outdoor portions of this large nightly event center will inevitably be highly disruptive to the adjacent residential neighborhood. The sounds will also be heard by other nearby upslope residences,” the document says, contending that the event space is not compatible with the surroundings.

It also says there are differences between events that would be held at the site and the numerous others public ones that are staged in Old Town. The public events, the document says, add vibrancy to Park City and “residents of Old Town accept the additional noise and inconvenience that comes” from them.

“However, these are public events and the City exerts some control over them and their impacts. A commercial private event business is quite another matter altogether. The applicant is asking that the residents of the community sacrifice quality of life for the exclusive benefit of a private event business and its patrons,” the document says.

The appealing parties, meanwhile, claim the neighborhood will “no longer remain a residential area.” There will be more residences put into the rental pool as a result of the event space opening, it says.

“Who would want to have their primary residence where they will have to endure hearing the noises from a large nightly commercial indoor/outdoor event center,” the submittal to City Hall says.

The document covers a series of other issues, including the need to address traffic, parking, the look of the redeveloped roof and the outdoor area that would be included in the event space.

The Planning Commission in December approved the event space on a unanimous vote after receiving testimony from opponents that resembled the concerns raised in the appeal. City Hall staffers recommended the event space be approved, arguing that conditions put on the approval addressed the impacts. City Hall is expected to issue a report early in the week in anticipation of the City Council meeting on Thursday.

The developer, a firm under the umbrella of California-based Columbus Pacific Properties, has said the event space is important to the success of the project. The developer says there is significant demand for event space in Park City.

The upcoming decision by the City Council on the appeal will likely be the last major one made by the Park City government regarding the redevelopment of the property, a process that repeatedly proved difficult as various designs by the Kimball Art Center and then Columbus Pacific Properties encountered resistance. The Kimball Art Center eventually sold the property as a result of a City Hall rejection of designs to redevelop the site.

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