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Planning officials object to approval of Park City billionaire’s home

A rendering of the proposed home above the Treasure Hill skyline.
Park City Municipal
A rendering of the proposed home above the Treasure Hill skyline.

Two Park City planning commissioners objected to the approval of tech billionaire Matthew Prince’s home at a meeting Wednesday.

The commission was tasked with ratifying its action last week, when officials narrowly approved the Prince’s home plans.

During the procedural vote Wednesday, two members of the Park City Planning Commission voiced opposition to the approval process for the project. It was put on a fast track last month when lawyers for Prince requested final action from the city, which pushes the commission to vote within 45 days.

Commissioner Laura Suesser, an attorney who has served on the planning board since 2016, implied the home plans didn’t receive enough scrutiny.

“I don’t believe the commission properly analyzed and went through the appropriate process in processing this application,” Suesser said. “I don’t think the discussion last week thoroughly analyzed the application.”

That was echoed by fellow commissioner and developer Henry Sigg.

“For me there just wasn’t enough empirical data,” Sigg said. “There was too many conflicting statements by some of the important review bodies. And that format that was presented in the last meeting was unfamiliar. And so, on that basis, I object.”

Suesser specifically objected to not including the home’s unfinished space when calculating the building’s height and footprint.

“We should be contemplating this application as if it included that unfinished floor in the height,” Suesser said. “The building is 53 feet whether it’s finished or unfinished.”

Two of the home’s 4.5 stories are below grade and considered basement levels. The building’s interior height does not comply with the city’s land management code, which measures from the lowest finished floor. However, the Prince property is in the Sweeney Master Planned Development. Limits on interior height were enacted after the development was approved.

The commission added a condition Wednesday that requires the Princes to get a permit before developing the unfinished space.

A majority allowed amendments to the property’s rules, more formally known as plat notes, allowing the Sweeney MPD to essentially supersede the zoning regulated by code. The commission also granted amendments allowing underground space and areas with landscaping or a deck to be excluded from footprint calculations.

The planning department determined in a Jan. 24 staff report that the actual footprint of the home is approximately 11,300 square feet, under methodology in city code. The approved amendments allow the home’s footprint to be measured at 3,500 square feet, excluding the underground parking area and accessory buildings.

Garages normally have to be included in the footprint, but because the Princes define it as a “parking area” without a door, the 4,700 square feet are not included.

Commissioner Bill Johnson also voted against the ratification Wednesday. Commission Chair Sarah Hall stepped in again to break the tie in favor of approval.

The home still has to go through a historic design review before a building permit can be issued.