Apr 30, 2024 - News

Cloudflare billionaire in fight with neighbors over mansion planned in Park City

A rendering of a large mansion sitting on top of a hill in Park City.

Rendering of the home proposed by Matthew Prince. Image via Park City

The billionaire founder of Cloudflare, will face off on Tuesday night with his Park City neighbors who say he has used his wealth to influence city decisions as he plans an 11,300-square-foot contemporary palace overlooking Old Town.

Why it matters: Opponents of Matthew Prince — the richest man in Utah — say his mansion would drastically change the character of Park City's historic Main Street area.

Between the lines: Prince characterized the dispute as "two rich people fighting with each other," in the Daily Beast, pointing to a volley of legal disputes involving a couple whose neighboring mansion would be dwarfed by Prince's colossus.

Driving the news: A three-member appeal panel will hear neighbors' objections as they ask the city to reconsider its February approval of his plans.

The fine print: Opponents say the building would be too large under rules for Park City's historic district.

  • Prince argues that neighboring homes built since the 1990s also exceed those limits, and his site should fall under the rules for the adjacent planning district.

The big picture: Park City's downtown, which attracts throngs of tourists, is fastidiously regulated for its historic, mining-town character.

  • But the city's population has exploded in recent decades, with vacation rentals and luxury homes crawling up the mountains in one of the West's costliest housing markets.

Zoom in: Prince's property sits at the bottom of Treasure Hill, a tract of land the city bought in 2019 to limit development that could eclipse the iconic landscape above Old Town.

  • The new mansion would replace two vacation rentals Prince describes as "party houses."

The other side: His opponents accuse him of using his money and position to gain support for the home.

  • Prince denied gossip that he "bought" the Park City Museum's endorsement for the project with a donation. The museum director told KPCW it has received no money from Prince and says the building design honors local history.

Yes, but: Other supporters of his plans do have financial ties to him.

  • One of the neighbors who spoke in favor of the plan co-founded a tech company with Prince, Bloomberg reported.

Flashback: Prince came under fire last year when he asked the Utah legislature to intervene, but the bill language that would have circumvented Park City's ordinances failed.

The latest: After neighbors appealed the city planning commission's decision this month, Prince sued them, claiming their two Bernese mountain dogs, Sasha and Mocha, are aggressive to people on a nearby trail.

  • "Save Sasha and Mocha" merch has appeared around Park City.
  • Prince also bought a lot near the same couple's land and sued them this month, claiming an old retaining wall encroaches on his property.
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