New Basin ordinance encourages historic preservation
A new section in the Snyderville Basin Development Code incentivizes preserving historic structures in the Basin, according to Summit County Planner Ray Milliner.
Following a public hearing Wednesday, the Summit County Council unanimously approved language for an ordinance in the development code about historic buildings. The ordinance was approved subject to additional changes suggested by the County Council.
It replaces a section in the code eliminated six months ago by a temporary moratorium. The moratorium expires Oct. 30. Officials say there are about 12 buildings that are considered historic structures in the Basin area.
The new ordinance accomplishes several things that the previous one didn’t, Milliner said, including clarifying what constitutes an historic structure and outlining specific additional allowed uses. It eliminates the low-impact permit process and replaces it with a conditional-use approval, while keeping the density to what is allowed in that zone, eliminating the possibility of increasing density.
"The primary issue with the old language is it said anyone who has a historic structure can have any use listed in the table even if it not allowed in the zone," Milliner said. "They were just subject to low-impact criteria for their historic structures and associated properties. The feeling was that’s too broad, ‘any use’ could be ‘any use’ and it was not the appropriate way to work through adding density."
The Planning Commission will now use established guidelines to determine historic significance, according to a planning department staff report. The staff report says guidelines and criteria for determination will be based on language from the Secretary of the Interior’s standards.
"There was no definition of what is considered a historic structure and no language stating how the home or the building should be preserved," Milliner said. "Park City goes through a whole process and the county didn’t do that. We set up some criteria for review about preserving the integrity of the house."
A building can now be deemed historically significant if it meets one of four criteria, such as being "associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of Summit County’s history or a building or structure associated with the lives of significant persons in the past."
Under the new ordinance, several additional allowed uses are included, such as a bed and breakfast inn, churches, schools, home-based businesses, restaurants or delis without a drive-through and retail sales. Warehouse and storage yard uses were removed.
"If it’s determined to be a historic structure, they can come in and apply for that conditional-use," Milliner has previously told The Park Record. "The whole idea was to get a use in the building, while preserving it and mitigating impacts on the neighbors."
Prior to the ordinance’s approval, Marile Bitner testified that a negative vote would limit property owners from providing the community with buildings of historic significance. Bitner is one of 33 members of the Milton O. Bitner Corporation responsible for the Bitner Ranch.
The Bitner family has operated the ranch since Milton and Hoffman Bitner purchased the property in 1908, according to information on the Park City Museum website provided by Betty Bitner King. The house and log barn were built in 1862 by William Kimball and operated as a hotel. It was also one of the original stations of the Overland Stages.
The members have been vocal in their desire to preserve the farm and facilitate a system through which the farm can support additional uses.
"When I’ve looked at the ranch, I have always imagined a farmers market or holding community events out there," Bitner said. "We are in the process of doing some big things out there and this could help."
To view the planning department’s staff report and the draft language, go to http://summitcounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/2664.
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