The Park City Planning Commission may not be experts on noise and traffic but that didn’t stop them from touring the proposed Kimball Garage special event center on Wednesday. Melissa Allison has more:
The Kimball Garage replaced the Kimball Brothers Livery Stable in 1929 to provide auto services at a time when the country had less than 27,000 automobiles.
The irony is that while the structure is still intact, it hasn’t functioned as a garage since the 70’s when the Kimball Art Center took up residence. And now with developer Tony Tyler wanting to make the newly added second floor a special event space, two of the three concerns have to do with cars – parking and traffic.
Tyler’s application was originally approved by the Park City Planning Commission last year, but a couple of Old Town residents appealed that decision and the city council told the commission to take another look.
Tyler had a noise study done but that wasn’t enough for the commission. They told him they wanted a third party to look at the findings as well as having them look at the parking and traffic impacts.
Planning Chair Melissa Band said helped her better understand the development.
“You know it’s just really helpful, when you’re looking at an application to walk around the space and see what the mitigations are," Band said. "It actually was pretty helpful to do that. I think there’s more of a buffer than I would have imagined. When you’re looking at something on paper its just, almost impossible to tell without walking around the property.”
Some of the Old Town residents at Wednesday’s tour told KCPW the tour didn’t quell their concerns. Band wasn’t as ready to make the same kind of statement.
“I think it definitely is going to remain to be seen," Band said. "But it’s helpful to walk around on the roof and just see there is some separation between that and the neighborhood and that’s really what we were looking at.”
Should the commission deny Tyler’s application for the space, Band says there are other options for its use, but with much less control.
“A restaurant is an allowed use so, we’re being much, much more strict on this because its conditional use for this private event space," Band said. "But, the impacts are actually a lot different with a restaurant as well. You have people coming and going at different times, you’ll have two or three people sitting in a group talking to each other whereas, if you‘ve got a large group and people are drinking – its just a different kind of atmosphere. So, I think the impacts are going to be bigger on a project like this than they would with a restaurant.”
The building’s only entrance is on Heber Ave. with no other access provided for load-in and load-out. Band said Tyler built a storage area in the basement to ease that impact.
“The idea behind it is that, when they’ve got events, they can keep a lot of the tables, chairs, things like that," Band said. "They can load in at the proper times where it’s not busy, it’s not 6 o’clock at night and people are coming to Main St. for dinner, they can hold on to that down there. And then they’ve got an elevator to move it back and forth so that should mitigate it. How much remains to be seen, but I think that’s definitely helpful.”
As for any light pollution, Band said they’re looking at it from all angles.
“The deck is set back and when you are standing on the deck, you actually cannot see most of Main St. or Swede Ally – so its pretty effective," Band said. "There’s the double-barrel roof – Now when you’re looking up at the houses, that might be a different deal, hard to say exactly how much light is going to be shining out from that but it is also the historic district so we’ve got a fair amount of light there anyway. The outdoor lighting needs to be downcast and I think we will be looking at that pretty closely.”
Band said Tyler hopes to be up and running before the Sundance Film Festival returns to Park City in January.
The Kimball Garage will return to the commission on September 26.
I’m Melissa Allison, KCPW News.