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Park City Board Reverses Planning Commission Decision On Woodside Park Phase II Setbacks

PCMC/Method Studio

The Park City Board of Adjustment on Tuesday partially reversed the decision by the Planning Commission to approve the Woodside Park Phase II master planned development, sending it back to the Commission. 

The Planning Commission approved the City’s housing development at the end of May on a 5-1 vote. Soon after, resident Doug Lee filed an appeal of the Commission’s decision. Because the City is the applicant on the project, the City Council voted to send the appeal to the Board of Adjustment for consideration.

Lee’s appeal included four specific points of contention with the project: that open space requirements; setback requirements; historic design review requirements; and parking requirements as outlined in the land management code were not met. Planning staff disagrees with Lee’s interpretation of the code.

Attorney Nicole DeForge represented Lee, whose family has owned the home on Empire Ave. that abuts the Woodside Park Phase II site for 40 years. DeForge says Lee supports the City’s affordable housing goals but has concerns that the City has skirted the land management code to push the project through the way they want it.

“The result of that is that this already very large and impactful development is even more seriously and negatively impactful to the surrounding neighbors and in the surrounding historic neighborhood," DeForge said. "Because the City wants this project, the end result approving the project has seemed a foregone conclusion.”

Park City Community Development Director Anne Laurent represented the City as applicant of the project. She said Woodside Park Phase II has been a decade in the works and was brought before the Planning Commission within the code and with plenty of community feedback.

“We've been working with the community; we've heard the community; we've implemented the community," Laurent said. "We completely concur with Planning's conclusions that we’re within the density, we’re within the height restrictions, and where we look to tweak this project and where we are working is to make it as compatible as possible with the neighborhood.”

Board members Ruth Gezelius, Stefanie Wilson, Hans Fuegi and Jennifer Franklin discussed each of Lee’s appeal points. They agreed with staff on open space; were split on historic design review requirements and parking; and agreed with Lee on setback requirements.

In the end, the Board moved 3-1 to reverse the decision of the Planning Commission and remand the Woodside Park Phase II MPD back to the commission on the basis that the findings of the commission were inadequate to establish the reduction of setbacks was necessary.

Lee called the Board’s decision a win—somewhat.

“I was encouraged by the significant number of comments in support of our arguments, and what I would consider a partial victory, but now we have to go look at our alternatives,” Lee said.

Laurent says it’s within the Board’s power to make these decisions. She’s not sure how it will affect the project timeline.

“I believe the City's intention on all of our projects has always been the same, and that is we're not pushing the envelope on the code," Laurent said. "The only things we're talking about here are things that are allowed to be looked at through an MPD process, and so on three of the four, we're good to go. We just need to talk about the fourth a little more—not sure where we’re going to go, but we will look at it more closely and figure it out.”

The Woodside Park Phase II development will add 52 affordable or attainable housing units into the pipeline. Its anticipated completion is in 2020.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.