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Park City planners: sensitive zone doesn’t apply to Prince property

A rendering of Matthew Prince's home plans, which were approved by the Park City Planning Commission in a split vote in February.
Park City Municipal
A rendering of Matthew Prince's home plans, which were approved by the Park City Planning Commission in a split vote in February.

The Park City Planning Commission has decided that a sensitive zoning boundary doesn’t apply to the property of billionaire Matthew Prince, who wants to build a new home on Treasure Hill.

A majority of the planning commission agreed June 26 that the sensitive land overlay boundary doesn’t cross into the Prince property, which sits at the top of Treasure Hill on King Road.

The sensitive land overlay, or SLO, is an area with stricter requirements for development due to heightened environmental concerns. Had the commission found it did apply, it could have impacted Prince’s plans to build an accessory building on the lot.

The SLO challenge of the Prince property stems from confusion around a city zoning map created in the 1990s, and a separate map digitized in 2010. The old map showed the SLO not falling on the Prince property; the modern map shows the zone partially bisecting the parcel. However, a staff report concluded that the SLO boundary may have unintentionally shifted as part of the digitization process.

The permits to build the controversial home were already approved by the commission, and weren’t the subject of Wednesday’s discussion.

Still, over half-a-dozen residents pleaded with officials to block the project, over concerns of a landslide.

Eric Hermann, Prince’s next door neighbor who unsuccessfully challenged the home approval, said its construction could bring unpredictable dangers. He referenced the 2023 landslide at the Kings Crown development near Park City Mountain.

“The excavation at Kings Crown was done in complete accordance with geotechnical models and guidelines, and yet it slid,” Hermann said. “Without the Marriott to stop it, it could have done massive damage. That excavation was on 30% slope with five to 10 foot cuts. This excavation is on 40% and 50% slope with 35 to 40 foot deep cuts, even wider than Kings Crown. And there is no Marriott below it, just our property, other citizens’ homes and a steep slope all the way down to Main Street.”

Prince’s new home will include over 7,000 square feet of finished space, nearly 6,000 square feet of unfinished space along with a terrace, pool, and 4,000 square feet for an underground parking area.

Commissioner Bill Johnson was part of the majority that determined the SLO doesn’t fall within the Prince property. But Johnson noted that he previously voted against one of the permits for the home, and said it falls on the city to ensure the project is safe.

“This residential development will have an 80 foot shoring wall cut into the hillside,” Johnson said. “I do think there’s potential liability on [Park City Municipal] as we are the uphill property owner. Liability lies there in trying to determine if there is such a landslide in this case.”

The planning commission’s findings will now be forwarded to Park City’s three-member appeal panel, which is charged with ensuring the commission acted appropriately.

A date for that meeting has not been set.