Appeal panel finds issue with Planning Commission approval of Matthew Prince’s mansion

Inconsistent boundary line maps indicating whether or not a portion of the Matthew Prince's proposed home, identified as an accessory building, would cut directly into the Sensitive Lands Overlay, is what sent the project back to the Planning Commission for further review.

PARK CITY, Utah — In a marathon session that stretched late into Tuesday night, the Park City Appeal Panel denied the appeal against the Planning Commission’s approval of Matthew and Tatiana Prince’s proposed new home in Old Town Park City.

The panel did, however, remand a portion of the decision back to the Planning Commission for further analysis concerning a sensitive lands overlay (SLO). The move delays further decision on the controversial project to late May. A date for the next hearing has not yet been set.

Bruce Baird, Matthew Prince’s lawyer, said that he is one hundred percent confident that he and his team will be able to demonstrate compliance with SLO and get “another” approval from the Planning Commission.

“We respectfully disagree with their decision about the sensitive lands ordinance and the Planning Commission’s finding of compliance with it, but we respect their decision and we will comply with it, of course, and we will present our case as soon as possible to the planning commission to confirm and cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s so that there’s no question the project complies with the sensitive lands ordinance as four members of the planning commission already decided. We think it’s mostly an exercise in paperwork,” Baird told TownLift Wednesday morning.

The SLO concerns stem from what the applicant states are inconsistent SLO boundary maps. The online and most recent map clearly indicates the SLO runs through the 220 King Road Property and the development plans clearly indicate that a portion of the home identified as an accessory building would cut directly into the SLO. The applicant contends that the online map is inaccurate and instead references and earlier version of the SLO boundary where it does not intersect the 220 King Road property line. The applicant also states that code clearly indicates the SLO should not bisect properties.

“The trouble is the sensitive lands ordinance itself specifically says the map is intended to follow lot line boundaries, and not bisect lots unless there’s a specific finding of exactly that intent to bisect the lot. First of all, we don’t think that it actually does bisect the lot, but even if it does, there’s not a specific finding by the council when it was adopted, showing an intent to bisect this lot. So we don’t believe it’s applicable,” Baird said.

(L) On-Line Sensitive Land Overlay Boundary line. (R) 1994 Sensitive Land Boundary with conflicting information if the SLO intersects the 220 King Road property or not
(L) On-Line Sensitive Land Overlay Boundary line. (R) 1994 Sensitive Land Boundary with conflicting information if the SLO intersects the 220 King Road property or not. Map source: Park City Municipal

The Appeal Panel, presided over by Chairman Adam Strachan, voted 2-1 to send the SLO issue back for more thorough review, citing procedural concerns and lack of clarity on the SLO impacts to the property and project.

The Planning Commission will now need to determine:

  • Whether the SLO can apply to the lot
  • If the SLO applies, can the amended plat footprint breach it
  • If it can breach the SLO, what are the impacts and how are they mitigated

The debate lasted nearly six and a half hours, highlighted by mixed public opinions, culminating in a private consultation with legal counsel before the vote.

Chairman Strachan expressed reservations about the ongoing use of evolving plat notes to settle property matters such as height limits, noting that the “Use of plat notes to achieve a legislative change in the land management code is not the correct tool. Plat notes are not for changing things the land management code speaks of directly.”

Once a decision is made by the Planning Commission on the matter in late May, opponents of the project could appeal to the District Court.

If the next Planning Commission ruling is not appealed, the project will face Park City’s Historic District review process. Approval by the Historic District is required by Park City before the project would be allowed to go through the building permitting process.

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