Parkites critique Old Town |

Parkites critique Old Town

City Hall has released a compilation of 36 written comments from people who live in Old Town or who have a financial stake in the neighborhood, a diverse set of opinions that illustrates the difficulties officials are having as they consider changes to the design guidelines in the neighborhood.

The local government gathered the opinions during a mid-July open house that drew about 50 people, with many having competing interests. The open house was part of a series of meeting during the summer dealing with development in Old Town. City Hall is continuing the talks, and critics remain unhappy.

The critics generally complain that tightening the rules in the neighborhood will depress property values and lead to bland designs in the historic district. People who support the efforts tend to say Old Town houses and additions to houses in the neighborhood in recent years have been designed too large. The newer houses loom over neighbors and are out of character in a historic district, some say.

The written comments, which are not signed, resemble many of the critiques people in Old Town leveled during the meeting. They show the residents are concerned about being treated fairly if the rules are tightened; some want less influence from City Hall and others are worried about the size of houses in Old Town.

Some of the comments include:

"I hate what has happened, but I also want to make enough money to retire when I sell my house with 2 lots."

"What historic district? None really were and 1/2 of that 100 shacks are already gone."

"Like it or not, the historic district is now a caricature of what it was."

"The tourists don’t look at miner’s shacks. They gawk at the tall, skinny Park City homes."

"Further restrictions on the district only penalize people who tried to play it straight."

"I support preservation efforts on historic buildings and keeping the charming character of these Old Town properties."

"I do no support this much proposed government regulation — let the free market rule."

"I believe it to be a foolish mistake to believe that the visitor coming to Park City will be drawn to an artificial ‘Historic Disneyland’ replication of original historic designs. All I can say about that is ‘Oh for cute!’"

The city’s Historic Preservation Board, a panel that holds some authority in Old Town, last week endorsed a set of changes to the design guidelines.

Officials expect the city’s Planning Commission will review the guidelines in the fall, with the City Council likely deciding whether to adopt them late in the year.

A core group of house designers and homeowners has followed the talks, but there has been little interest outside of Old Town. The neighborhood has long been the most politically volatile in Park City, and rising real estate values in this decade have heightened the tension.

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