Racquet Club vote nears
City Hall officials on Wednesday night indicated the hours construction crews would work on the Racquet Club while the building is being renovated would be tightly controlled, one step the municipal government would take to appease neighbors worried that the redo of the building will be highly disruptive.
The officials talked about the construction hours during an appearance in front of the Park City Planning Commission, the panel that is considering whether to approve the permit needed for the renovation to move forward.
Kayla Sintz, the City Hall architect assigned to the project, said officials have agreed to limit construction to between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
City Hall rules are not as strict, allowing construction from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sundays. The chief building official or a designee holds the authority to expand the hours depending on the circumstances of a construction site.
In offering to limit the construction hours, City Hall appears to be acknowledging the concerns from people who live close to the Little Kate Road facility. Some neighbors have previously indicated they were concerned about the hours work would be underway.
Meanwhile, Sintz said City Hall will place other restrictions on the construction crews, including requiring them to stage from the Racquet Club parking lots exclusively. She said officials would require portable bathrooms be situated in locations where they would not disturb neighbors. Construction-related parking at the Racquet Club would be limited to only certain members of the crew, she said.
City Hall is attempting to craft a construction plan that neighbors will support, but doing so will likely be a difficult task. The Racquet Club, sitting on Little Kate Road, is situated within an exclusively residential area. There are numerous residences located steps from the Racquet Club property lines. City Hall receives occasional complaints about activity at the Racquet Club, such as when the building hosts movies and events during the Sundance Film Festival.
Sintz also outlined several changes in the designs of the outside of the building, saying that the proposed colors on parts of the exterior have been changed from gray to a shade of brownish bronze. The style of the roof has also been altered to make it more appealing, she said.
Six people testified during a hearing on Wednesday, with the speakers covering topics like the tennis courts. Some of the people who addressed the Planning Commission said they want the tennis courts to meet United States Tennis Association specification, a desire of City Hall as well.
But another speaker, Vic White, a critic of the plans who lives nearby, said he worried about the height of the redone building even as he acknowledged the Racquet Club should be refurbished. He said it would be out of place in the neighborhood and the facility should not be seen as one for elite tennis players.
White said the redone building would "stick out like an elephant" and block views.
"I don’t think they’re looking at the unintended consequences," White said.
The Planning Commission was not scheduled to cast a vote on Wednesday. The panel could make a decision as early as Jan. 20, though.
City Hall has long wanted to renovate the Racquet Club, and the work would be the most extensive since the municipal government purchased the building in the 1980s. Supporters say the Racquet Club is aging and needs numerous improvements. They also say the athletic offerings in a redone building will be superior to what is offered now.
The City Council previously set aside $10.5 million for the work at the Racquet Club. Officials have said they would like to start the construction in the spring, with a completion date anticipated in the fall of 2011.
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