Time Will Tell if Lilac Hill Ruling Will Set Precedence for Rossi Hill
Those who opposed the Lilac Hill subdivision weren’t too happy when the council unanimously passed staff’s recommendation to make it a legal platted lot that will now allow development on the property.
For nearby property owner Richard Dennis however - who owns the three historic houses on Rossi Hill - the decision is good news. Dennis has been trying to get title to the property under his three homes –which is owned by the Bureau of Land management – just like the former owner of the Lilac Hill property was able to do. He told the council he understands the current property owner – Matt Mullin’s - struggle.
“Poor guy – he bought the property and he felt like when he built it and he’d make money on doing whatever he’s going to do and I think they should let him do whatever he’s going to do," Dennis said. "That’s nothing to do with my property – I gotta get my property through the BLM which it looks like they’re going to do it but there’s a lot of process to go through yet. So it’s going to take a while for us to obtain the property.”
Council member Andy Beerman told KPCW time will tell whether the council’s decision will set any precedence for future decisions on Rossi Hill.
“I’m not sure if it does at this point," Beerman said. "I think it telegraphs that the council is very concerned about the preservation of the historic homes. We want to make sure that there is ample open space back there so we have a nice transition with the neighborhoods but it’s gonna be a tough discussion. I think this is one of the hardest things we do on council and we’ve gotta balance property rights with community desires and neighborhood desires. Those are always tricky discussions and generally when you leave those – no one is happy because you have to strike a compromise that no one gets everything they want.” -
Dennis was born in one of the historic homes in 1932. Two of the homes are currently uninhabitable. He’s now ready to sell, but can’t until the title issues are resolved with the BLM.
“It’s been going on for quite a while," Dennis said. "I’m trying to get the land from the BLM. We’ve had an application in there for a number of years. I’ve been on that property for over 100 years – my family. But like I‘ve said before, I’m willing to sell the property to Park City. If they want to buy those three houses and make them historic and make the rest a park – I’m in for that – just give me fair market value for the property – and I think that’s fair.”
Beerman said the city did look at Rossi Hill for affordable housing at one time, but have backed off that idea.
“We considered that and we actually decided it was not a good place for it," Beerman said. "We agreed in that, that hillside it was nice to have lower density there and it was nice to highlight the historic homes and we felt like if we were to put high density affordable housing in there that wouldn’t be a good fit with the neighborhood.”
And Dennis, he added, faces some of the same issues as Lilac Hill did.
“I think we’re going to have the same concern with him that we did with this parcel in that we’ve got three historic homes on his property that we’re going to want to make sure that, first and foremost they’re preserved," Beerman said. "Secondly, that whatever goes in behind them fits with the mass and scale. And then the other point that I didn’t bring up earlier is there’s been discussion on how much open space we have back there and one of the conditions we agreed on last night was that at least 40 percent of that was to remain open space. “