After Second Appeal, Park City Board Reverses Setbacks Approval For Woodside Park Phase II

Jan 24, 2020

Credit PCMC/Method Studio

The Park City Board of Adjustment voted to reverse a decision by the planning commission regarding Park City Municipal’s Woodside Park Phase II. 

The Park City Board of Adjustment met Tuesday to consider an appeal of the Woodside Park Phase II affordable housing project. The appeal is based on the planning commission’s approval of reduced setbacks. Under the land management code, the planning commission can reduce setbacks from the master planned development-required 25 feet to the underlying zone’s requirements, if it’s necessary to provide architectural interest. 

Empire Avenue resident Doug Lee lives next to the Woodside Park Phase II site. Lee first appealed the Park City Planning Commission’s May approval of the application, based on what he perceives as violations of open space, parking, historic design review and setback requirements.

The board of adjustment heard Lee’s first appeal in July and rejected the open space, parking and historic design review aspects of it. On the issue of setbacks, the board sent the application back to the planning commission to reconsider its approval. In October, the planning commission reaffirmed its approval of the reduced setbacks, with one amendment—that the setbacks on Empire Avenue increase to 25 feet.

That triggered Lee’s second appeal, sending the project back to the board of adjustment. Lee’s attorney, Nicole DeForge, argued the reduced setbacks are not necessary; that the city designed the development in conflict with the code; and that the city has shown itself special consideration because the project forwards its affordable housing goals.

“Allowing the city to reduce setbacks, simply because it created a design that assumed reduced setbacks, would not only violate the law but would also set a horrible precedent for the city," DeForge said. "Other developers could do the same.”

The city as applicant argues the reduced setbacks are necessary to keep the development compatible with the neighborhood and provide space for the public walkway that cuts through the project. Project supervisor Kelly Morgan from Method Studio says the city considered multiple design options but thinks the reduced setbacks make for the best project.

“This is our solution, and we believe it fits what needs to be done," Morgan said. "It fits the goals of the client and the city and being responsible with the use of this property, and it also reflects that every applicant does have the legal right to request a setback reduction.”

Board members unanimously agreed with Lee’s argument and felt the city hadn’t shown the setback reductions to be necessary. They voted to reverse the planning commission’s decision on setbacks, meaning the project’s setbacks are no longer approved. Park City Planning Director Bruce Erickson says the city is considering how to move forward.