Synagogue gets preliminary nod
March 18, 2006
Members of Park City’s only Jewish congregation pleased the discerning Snyderville Basin Planning Commission last week by agreeing to lower the height of a synagogue planned for construction in the Snyderville Basin.
Planning commissioners endorsed a conditional use permit Tuesday for Temple Har Shalom to construct a 30,000 square-foot synagogue near S.R. 224 and The Colby School. But not before congregation officials made some concessions.
Rabbi Joshua Aaronson agreed to reduce the building height by almost nine feet. To address concerns that light might reflect off parts of the building into the eyes of motorists, a glazed portion of the synagogue has decreased in size from 1200 to 800 square feet.
Temple Har Shalom, which is planned for construction on three lots roughly 15 acres — in the Brookside Estates subdivision, would be only the third "purpose-built" synagogue in Utah, Aaronson said.
"We are people who live next door to you," the rabbi told the Planning Commission. "We are people who send our kids to school with your kids."
To address traffic impacts, the congregation is required to pay into escrow $13,750 for transportation improvements in Snyderville.
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Because commissioners were lukewarm about portions of the building’s veneer, much of the zinc planned on its surface has been removed, a County Community Development Department staff report states.
Though most of the synagogue’s roofline falls within the 32-foot height restriction for structures in Snyderville, for the purposes of worship, Aaronson claims parts of the building needed to be higher. According to Summit County planner Don Sargent, the building will not obscure the skyline when viewed from S.R. 224.
The Summit County Commission must still approve the conditional use permit and Aaronson would need a variance from the County Board of Adjustment for the building’s height to exceed 32 feet. Federal and state laws, however, can allow religions to skirt zoning codes if necessary for facilitating worship.
"Our mission is to be a community benefit," Aaronson said. "We want to be good neighbors."