Politics

Will Utah’s richest man get his castle on King Road?

Parkite and billionaire Matthew Prince seeks several exceptions to local building codes to build a 11,300 sq. ft. home after an alleged failed attempt to lobby state legislation in 2023

PARK CITY, Utah — Parkite and billionaire Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare and recent owner of The Park Record, a Park City newspaper, has submitted plans to the Park City Planning Commission for a substantial private home demolition and build project on Treasure Hill. Forbes reports that Prince is the wealthiest man in Utah, with a net worth of $3.9 billion, tied with Gail Miller, the wealthiest female in Utah at $3.9 billion.

The proposal, which includes a new home with an 11,300 sq. ft. footprint, according to planning staff, is larger than currently permitted by local regulations. The home has raised questions about fairness, environmental stewardship, and the preservation of Park City’s historic and residential character.

The proposed project intends to demolish the existing single-family dwelling and guest house and construct a new single-family dwelling, pool and accessory buildings on the same lot. The proposed single-family dwelling is four and a half stories, including two levels that are more than fifty percent below grade and considered basement levels.

Prince told the planning commission on Jan. 24, “All we want to do is be good neighbors, turn two party houses into a single-family home that we can be proud of.” Prince currently owns the lot with the two “party houses” on it. He goes on to say that they are seeking the same treatment as the other seven lots in the development, and while planning staff is correct in their analysis, adjustments to the code have been made in the past.

A recent Park Record headline quotes Prince saying that the Proposed home overlooking Old Town will be ‘something to be proud of’.

Prince's proposed east facade.
Prince’s proposed east facade. Photo: Park City Municipal

Exceptions Sought

1. Square Footage

The submitted plans seek to change how the home’s square footage will be calculated. Prince is asking for the building footprint to be calculated at the lowest level, which has the smallest footprint at 3,475 square feet, excluding underground garages. The current zoning allows for a maximum of 3,500 square feet, including garages. The Planning Department calculates the applicant’s actual building footprint at approximately 11,300 square feet using the current Land Management Code.

2. Building Height

Although the exterior building height complies with existing Plat Notes, planning staff is concerned that the interior building height does not comply with LMC § 15-2.2-5(A), which limits interior height to a total of 35 feet in the HR-1 Zoning District. The planning department calculates the interior building height at 53.5 feet, an excess of 18.5 feet. 

3. Additional Concerns

The staff report on the proposal cites continued concern about the project’s overall scale, prominent visibility on the hillside, compliance with existing agreements, and encroachments into the Sensitive Land Overlay.

Staff Report Concerns Include:

  • The proposed structure seems over scale when compared to the surrounding Mining Boom Era Residences.
  • The sub-grade parking area is approximately 4,700 square feet in footprint, and the required excavation will extend beyond the platted Building Area Limits below grade, effectively negating the purpose of these Limits.
  • The Applicant submitted a Slope Map indicating that most of the Site consists of Very Steep Slopes. No Development is allowed on or within fifty feet (50’), map distance, of Very Steep Slopes.
  • Further reductions to the mass of the structure may be warranted to reduce its visual impact and make it more compatible with the scale of other structures in the Historic District.

Attempted Local Zoning Sidestep

After initial discussions on the project with the planning commission in late 2022, the application was paused indefinitely. Prince then drew stark criticism in March of 2023 for an alleged attempt to lobby state legislators to override local zoning in the 2023 legislative session.

Senate Bill 271, sponsored by Sen. Mike McKell, proposed to reduce local control over land use, particularly concerning vacation home companies and co-owned residences. An amendment related to the bill was initially intended to permit Prince to bypass city authority to expand his home. This move sparked further outcry from local leaders, who feared it represented a direct challenge to municipal autonomy over development decisions. Although this specific amendment was ultimately voted down, the underlying bill passed.

After the amendment to the bill failed to provide Prince with a direct path forward, he is now back with the Park City planning commission with a revised plan, submitted for review in Oct. of 2023. On Jan. 2, 2024, attorneys for the 220 King Road applicant submitted a request for Final Action within 45 days, pursuant to Utah Code on the requested Plat Amendment, Conditional Use Permit, and Steep Slope Conditional Use Permit.

Next Steps

The planning commission is set to address this item at the upcoming meeting on Feb. 14. Click here to join via Zoom.

Editor’s Note: (8:34 a.m. Feb. 9) This article has been updated to reflect the recent change in Matthew Prince’s net worth. In the 12+ hours since publishing, Prince’s net worth has jumped from $3.1 billion to $3.9 billion, increasing $800 million overnight, as reported by Forbes. The change is likely due to a % increase in Cloudflare (NYSE:NET) stock price.

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